Deir al-Zor’s provincial governor, Mohammed Ibrahim Samra, told Reuters in a phone interview that he expected the army to arrive at the city within hours and that some people there had taken to the streets to demonstrate their happiness.
Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces have destroyed multiple pieces of ISIS’s hardware over two days of operations near the Syrian city of Deir Ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday. On Friday, it reported the army was still 30 km (19 miles) away after capturing Jebel al-Bashri.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ISIS buses, which had left the Qalamoun Jurud at the Syrian-Lebanese border on Monday night “were still stopped at the administrative border between Homs and Deir Ezzor in the Hmimeh area which is controlled by regime forces, waiting for securing a new safe passage to the areas controlled by ISIS”.
It is a sign of the rapidly changing fortunes in Syria’s civil war, as Assad, aided by Russian air strikes and Iran-backed Shi’ite militias including Hezbollah, has won a series of battlefield victories.
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh, now controlling parts of it.
ISIL controls most of Deir Az Zor province – apart from a Syrian government-held enclave in Deir Az Zor city and a nearby military airbase.
Deir ez-Zor, located on the shores of the Euphrates River to the northeast of Damascus, and a military airfield near the city have been besieged by ISIS for over three years, with food and ammunition only being delivered by air.
Syrian state television reported that Daesh was in a state of collapse in the face of the army’s progress.
“On a road connecting Deir ez-Zor and Rasafe, the military destroyed a big convoy of the IS twelve trucks with ammunition and weapons, as well as off-road vehicles with installed high-caliber machine guns, anti-aircraft guns and mortars”, the Defense Ministry added.
Elsewhere in Deir Ezzor, Syria’s army and its allies advanced towards their enclave, besieged by ISIL forces Sunday, taking al-Kharata oil field.