MOSCOW, September 5. /TASS/. The Syrian government forces have broken through the militants’ defense lines of the Islamic State (terror group, outlawed in Russia) to lift the blockade of the city of Deir ez-Zor, which had remained besieged for about three years, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
Earlier, Russia’s Aerospace Forces and cruise missiles launched from the frigate The Admiral Essen dealt a massive strike against their main strongholds, manpower and materiel of the Islamic State near Deir ez-Zor. The Russian Defense Ministry said a number of the major strongholds, vast networks of underground tunnels, artillery positions and shelters for manpower and ammunition were wiped out.
"Using the outcome of the Russian air and missile strikes Syria’s government forces under General Suheil Hassan mounted a lightning offensive to penetrate the Islamic State’s defenses and unblock Deir ez-Zor, the report runs.
"The terrorists tried to halt the advancing Syrian troops using suicide bombers and armored vehicles loaded with explosives. The assault groups of Syria’s government army destroyed more than 50 jihadi armored pickups used by the terrorist forces," the Defense Ministry said.
Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Deir ez-Zor was the main strategic point along the Euphrates. Lifting the blockade would signify the completion of the struggle against the terrorists in Syria. Chief of the Main Operations Department of Russia’s General Staff, Sergey Rudskoy, said the end of the city’s blockade would spell the defeat of "one of the strongest groups of the Islamic State on Syrian soil." Rudskoy said Deir ez-Zor was the place where the terrorists were pulling back the remaining forces to. Militants from Mosul and the bulk of the most combat-ready terrorist groups from Raqqa had moved there.