An attempt by Islamic State to evacuate hundreds of fighters from western Syria to the Iraqi border has instead left them sitting ducks for aerial attacks by the U.S.-led coalition on the convoy.
“We were able to exploit it and take advantage,” Army Col. Ryan S. Dillon, a coalition spokesman, said of the ISIS maneuver Thursday morning as 11 buses full of ISIS fighters and civilians remained stranded in the Syrian desert.
U.S. warplanes continue to pick off militants who stray too far from the protection of the convoy’s women and children, officials said. Strikes have also destroyed militant vehicles coming to the area from ISIS-held territory.
“Like moths to the flame,” more than 40 vehicles have come to try to aid the convoy, including armored technical vehicles and a tank disguised as a truck, Dillon said. “We were able to continue to just observe and pick them off one at a time.”