09/04/2017, 12.22
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Syrian army breaks siege of Isis and Deir Ezzor

Jihadist militias suffering from a serious of defeats. For the governor the army will enter the city "within a few hours". Part of the population has already taken to the streets to celebrate the defeat of the "Caliphate". Civilians managed to survive thanks to aid (about 300 launches in a year) dropped from planes.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The government and allied militias have accelerated the advance toward Deir Ezzor, an enclave on the Euphrates River in the east of the country loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,  under siege by the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis). In recent days, the military has repeatedly defeated the jihadists, whose defenses seem to have collapsed suddenly and unexpectedly.

Over the past few weeks, the Syrian army, backed by raids and ground operations by Russian forces, has gained ground on several fronts. According to the London-based NGO Syrian Human Rights Observatory, and a dense network of observers on the ground, soldiers are struggling to regain a strategic base (Brigade 137) on the periphery of the city.

Governor of Deir Ezzor Province, Mohammed Ibrahim Samra, said in a telephone interview with Reuters that "within a few hours" the army should arrive in the city. Meanwhile a part of the population has already taken to the streets (in the picture) to celebrate the arrival of the soldiers and the possible defeat of the jihadists.

The province is rich in oil and natural gas and army soldiers have already taken over the control of the Al-Kharata oil field. United Nations estimates that there are at least 93,000 people in the undercover government enclave, which includes much of the city, the Brigade 137 military base and the airport.

For years ISIS militaries have controlled a large part of the province and its capital, Deir Ezzor. Government forces have won back some sectors in 2015, but have since been besieged by jihadists. The civilian population has survived thanks to the aid dropped by government aircraft; in the last year there were about 300 food drops.

Intense fighting is also consuming taking place around the city. Analysts and experts believe that the government's victory is likely to take place within the next few days, demonstrating Assad’s growing military successes backed by Russian raids and Shiite militias (including Hezbollah) on the battlefield.

In Syria, as in neighboring Iraq, the Islamic State is losing ground, and even the same Syrian stronghold, Raqqa, is being taken by the US-led international coalition. Syrian state television reports that Daesh's troops [Arabic acronym for IS] are on the verge of "collapse" in the face of the government's advance on several fronts.

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See also
Mount Sinjar, the peshmerga break siege of Islamic State militias
UN report: Islamic State threat remains despite military blows
11/08/2017 11:32
Syrian conflict: rebels wrest al-Rai from the Islamic State
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As airstrikes fail to stop Jihadist push in Kobane, ground operation appears necessary


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