MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The Syrian armed forces and militia with support from the Russian Aerospace Force by Sunday morning liberated Es Sukhne, thus giving opportunity for offensive to Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
"On August 13, 2017, in a joint action of the Russian Aerospace Force, units of the governmental forces and militia west of the Homs Province, Es Sukhne is fully liberated from militants of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia - TASS)," the ministry said.
The local media earlier reported the city’s liberation. The defense ministry explained, the operation had a few stages. By August 10, the Syrian forces "seized the neighboring strategically important heights and blocked the city," and by 03:00 on August 13, with support of the Russian pilots they repelled the militants from the northern and western areas.
"By 7 in the morning on August 13, in hard fighting units of the Syrian armed forces liberated from terrorists Es Sukhne’s central and southern parts, establishing full control over the city," the ministry said.
"The liberation of Es Sukhne from the IS terrorists opens the opportunity for the Syrian governmental forces for an offensive and de-blocking of Deir ez-Zor," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Sunday, in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said de-blocking of Deir ez-Zor, which has been seized by the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) for a few years, would be a milestone in fighting terrorism in Syria. "This is probably the milestone on Euphrates, which will to a big extent say about finishing fighting IS," he said.