MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. Following an air strike of the Russian Aerospace Force, the Syrian government forces have broken Islamic State’s siege of the airfield in southeast Deir ez-Zor, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
"Following a massive air strike by the Russian Aerospace Force, in the evening of September 9, the Syrian government forces broke down the stiff resistance of ISIL militants [the former name of Islamic State] in the area located southeast of Deir ez-Zor airfield and pierced the terrorists’ siege," the ministry said in a statement.
According to the defense ministry, the government troops led by General Suheil al-Hassan and besieged defenders of the Syrian military garrison’s air base are fighting on the flanks, expanding the corridor between the city of Deir ez-Zor and the airfield.
Earlier, Islamic State units had been defeated overwhelmingly near Deir ez-Zor by the Syrian government forces supported by Russian air strikes and this victory "has surpassed the previous three years’ victories by its significance and scale."
Earlier on Saturday, SANA news agency reported that Syrian government forces had broken the ISIS siege of Deir ez-Zor Airport and the city districts of Hrabesh and Tahtouh.
Battle for Deir ez-Zor
In 2014, the Islamic State terrorist group besieged the city of Deir ez-Zor and took control of its eastern districts.
On 5 September 2017, units of Syria’s Republican Guard and special forces broke through the blockade of the city in the western flank and joined forces with defenders of the 137th artillery regiment’s base. As a result, more than 900 tonnes of humanitarian cargoes were delivered to the city that had lived through a three-year long siege.
On September 7, the government forces took a strategic bridge over the Euphrates to the northeast of Deir ez-Zor. They expanded control significantly over the areas adjoining the city. Later on, the troops continued the operations to unblock the military airdrome.
The lifting of the siege of Deir ez-Zor City, the administrative center of the eastern governorate enables the government forces to launch an operation to remove terrorists from the Euphrates Valley along the border with Iraq.
Liberation of the governorate, which is rich in oil and gas deposits, will have significance for the Syrian economy and resumption of trade with Iraq.