"Tigers" in Deir ezzor
On Tuesday, September 5, Syrian government troops together with allied forces broke through and lasted for more than three years the siege of Deir ez-Zor. In 2014, the territory around the city and Southeast suburbs were captured by ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia). A large part of the city, as well as a military airfield continued to be under the protection of the garrison of the government army — 137th brigade of the Syrian armed forces consisting of 4 thousand people (by the end of 2016).
Delivery of food and ammunition to the military and civilians was carried out only by air. By September of this year, the city continued to be about 94 thousand inhabitants.
After the final liberation of Deir-ez-Zor from ISIS in Syria will be only one large settlement — raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the "Caliphate".
Immediately after the lifting of the blockade Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on the phone congratulated us commanders involved in the operation. He noted the courage of the defenders of the city, which, "even though the number" could protect civilians" from terrorists, the words of the President SANA.
The same day Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad sent a telegram in which he congratulated him on the success of the operation, said press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov. According to him, Putin "gave a high evaluation of this strategic victory," which is "an important step towards the liberation of Syria from terrorism."
The assault on the city led by the "tiger Force" (special forces unit of the Syrian army) with the active support of the Russian space forces. Government forces were advancing from the West since mid-August. Extremists failed to stop the breakout of the Syrian forces, although massively used booby-trapped cars driven by suicide bombers. All, according to the Ministry of defense of Russia, the assault troops of the Syrian army killed more than 50 "Jihad-mobiles" terrorists. The next step, as the newspaper notes ِAl-Masdar, will be the development of the offensive in the direction of the airport of Deir ez-Zor, also blocked by extremists and controlled by IG South-Eastern quarters of the city.
To break through the defense of terrorists on the outskirts of the city the Syrian army helped the work of Russian aviation and massive missile strikes on terrorists, said defense Ministry. On the morning of 5 September, the frigate "Admiral Essen" the black sea fleet from the Mediterranean sea made a strike with cruise missiles "Caliber" on the positions of militants near Deir ez-Zor on the outskirts of the village al-Shula. According to the report of the Ministry of defense, bombardment of the fortifications and Islamist positions, held mainly by the insurgents — natives of Russia and CIS countries. "It was destroyed command and control and communications hub, the warehouses with arms and ammunition, as well as plant repair armored vehicles of terrorists and a large gathering of militants," — said the Agency. Russian aircraft per day made 80 sorties, 70 terrorists were killed and wounded.
The development of the offensive on Deir-ez-Zor became possible after the liberation from the extremists in mid-August the village of es-Sohne in the East of the neighbouring province of HOMS. The capture of the city allowed the Assad troops to drive the part of ISIS in two major enclave in Central Syria, then to clean up these areas, ensuring the safety of the rear, and begin to develop the operation in the direction of Deir ez-Zor.
In the beginning of the year the prospects for the release of the Deir-ez-Zor was unclear. In January—February, IG managed to defeat a force of government troops into two parts: one was blocked on the airfield, the other continued to hold most of the city. The Syrian army has managed to maintain these positions before the operation to liberate the city. "If then ISIS took over Deir ez-Zor, and who knows who he belonged to now. But the garrison resisted, since the breakthrough of the blockade was only a matter of time," said senior researcher of the HSE Leonid Isaev.
Start cruise missile "Calibre" of the frigate "Admiral Essen" (Photo: Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation / RIA Novosti)
The expert is sure that the final cleansing of Deir ez-Zor the Islamists will be completed soon, after which the offensive against ISIS will continue, particularly along the Euphrates. "The existence of ISIS is not ideological but as a political project is coming to an end, and the question now is, who will free some part of Syria and when", — said Isayev.
Fighting the extremists of the IG lead and the US-backed "Syrian democratic forces" (SDF), mainly composed of Kurdish troops. All the forces of the SDF at the moment is aimed at storm the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Syria — Raqqa, the siege of which Kurdish forces are in months. Earlier, the experts of the Institute for the Study of War pointed to the fact that Damascus, Moscow and Tehran are actively developing the offensive to the East, as quickly as possible to place governmental troops along the right Bank of the Euphrates river and thus to block the promotion of SDF troops, if the latter will go to Deir ez-Zor after the capture of Raqqa.
Angelica Bassini, George Makarenko
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