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Syria army breaks IS siege on Deir Ezzor air base

A picture taken on September 6, 2017 shows members of the Syrian government forces in the village of Kobajjep, on the southwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzor, during the ongoing battle against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Syria’s army and allied fighters, backed by Russian air support, have been advancing towards Deir Ezzor on several fronts in recent weeks, and entered the Brigade 137 base on its western edge, in what Moscow hailed as a key “strategic victory”. George OURFALIAN / AFP

Syrian troops Saturday broke the Islamic State group’s siege of the eastern Deir Ezzor military airport, state media reported, days after ending another siege on residential districts of the city.

State news agency SANA said the breach came “after the forces advancing from the cemetery southwest of the city linked up with the forces holding the airbase”.

The troops had launched a new push on Friday towards the besieged military airport, as part of its multi-pronged offensive to retake the whole eastern city from the jihadists.

Since 2014, IS has held swathes of Deir Ezzor province, which borders Iraq, and about 60 percent of the provincial capital.

Jihadists had encircled two regime-held enclaves in the western half of Deir Ezzor city, and the army on Tuesday broke through one of the besieged pockets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed troops had breached the siege.

“By breaking the siege on the military airport regime forces have been able to link up all the neighbourhoods they hold in western parts of Deir Ezzor city,” the Britain-based monitor said.



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