The Syrian army on Saturday broke the Islamic State (IS) siege on the military airport of Deir al-Zour city in eastern Syria, state news agency SANA reported.
The progress came after the troops advanced toward the airbase, which had been besieged by IS along with the city for three years.
The troops, which broke the IS siege on the city earlier this week, reached the airbase and met with the besieged soldiers inside it, SANA said.
Capturing the airbase is a strategic win for the army in its quest to drive IS out of Deir al-Zour and its countryside. When the base was besieged, the soldiers couldn’t fly warplanes as IS would target them.
Now, the base is expected to return to operation after the army has cleansed the vicinity of the airbase. A Syrian officer told Xinhua by phone that IS is collapsing in Deir al-Zour.
Syrian Foreign Ministry said the war on IS is close to the end given heavy defeats the terror group is suffering. SANA said celebrations broke out in Deir al-Zour with the news of breaking the siege to the airport.
Earlier this week, the Syrian army and allied troops with the backing of Russian air fire lifted the three-year siege by IS to Deir al-Zour through the Brigade 137 base in the west of the city.
Also on Saturday, the military group advancing from the desert toward Deir al-Zour captured the key oil field of Teym as part of a progress against the IS from the main desert road to the city.
Now the Syrian army is closing in on IS from two directions: the Brigade 137 in the west and from the main desert road in the south.
A military source told Xinhua that 90 percent of IS supply routes to the capital city of Deir al-Zour have been blocked. Since entering the city, the Syrian government has sent several truckloads of food and medicine to the city, where 93,000 civilians have been besieged for years.
In the northern countryside of Deir al-Zour, the U.S.-backed Deir al-Zour Military Council declared Saturday the commencement of a new battle against IS in northern and eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour Province.
The northern countryside of Deir al-Zour is seen by the U.S. as an area of influence as it’s close to the northeastern province of Hasakah, a largely Kurdish-controlled territory.
The eastern province of Deir al-Zour is important to the U.S. because of its proximity to the Iraqi border, where the U.S. is trying to establish a foothold to quell the cross-border Iranian support to Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The government has yet to comment on the U.S.-led operation in Deir al-Zour, but it has repeatedly slammed the U.S. coalition as “illegitimate.”
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