The Battle for ISIS-Controlled Deir Ezzor

Written by Subject: Syria

The Battle for ISIS-Controlled Deir Ezzor 

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Syrian and allied forces continue making steady gains on the ground, liberating more areas from US-supported terrorists, greatly aided by Russian aerial operations.

Last week, al-Sukhna was liberated from ISIS control. It's around 60 miles from its Deir Ezzor stronghold.

Last weekend, a Russian Defense Ministry statement said "in a joint action of the Russian Aerospace Force, units of the governmental forces and militia west of the Homs Province, al-Sukhna is fully liberated from militants of the Islamic State."

"…Syrian government forces (are now able to mount) an offensive (to liberate) Deir Ezzor." Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called defeating ISIS in al-Sukhna a "milestone on Euphrates, which will to a big extent say about finishing fighting IS."

Capturing Deir Ezzor and routing its forces will be a major step toward freeing Syria from its scourge. Russian aerial operations are greatly aiding government forces.

Deir Ezzor is the largest eastern Syrian city, its population around 212,000, according to pre-war census data.

Syrian forces advanced to its outskirts, clashing with ISIS near its airport and al-Bugheiliyeh village in the western countryside.

ISIS gained control of the city in mid-2014. Liberating it is a vital Syrian objective. It's just a matter of time.

An RT contributor got access to the city's Al-Jura neighborhood. One resident explained "(w)e're simply not living. We live like dogs here."

According to RT, "(r)are airdrops of humanitarian aid onto the city remains the only lifeline that supports the residents of the besieged city."

Conditions are deplorable, essentials to life in short supply. ISIS control is devastating for area civilians, living in an open-air prison war zone.

IS fighters reportedly are fleeing the city ahead of advancing government forces - to where is unclear.

Separately on August 12, government forces liberated Al-Dadir, around 70 miles west of Deir Ezzor - for the first time in the battle to defeat ISIS by a tactical operation, landing troops behind enemy lines.

Russian military advisors were involved in planning and overseeing the operation. Russian attack helicopters struck ISIS fighters. They directed Syrian rocket fire against them.

According to Russia's Defense Ministry, "Syrian paratroopers under the command of General Suheil Hassan destroyed the militants' headquarters and depots, hit two tanks and three armored vehicles. The landing party kept the positions until major forces came to the area in the morning on August 12." 

"The actions of the landing party and the efficiency of the strike on Islamic State militants made it possible for the Syrian government army to take Al-Kadir without losses."

Control was gained over about 60 square km, populated areas and two oil fields.

Defeating ISIS is just a matter of time. Liberating Syria entirely from the scourge of US-supported terrorism remains a much longer struggle.

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