Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Russian Warplanes Break Deir Ezzor Siege | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Pro-government forces have been advancing towards the city on multiple fronts for weeks. George Ourfalan/AFP

Beirut- Russian warplanes allowed on Monday the Syrian regime and its allies to reach the outskirts of Deir Ezzor for the first time in three years ahead of breaking the siege in the ISIS-controlled city.

Pro-regime websites announced on Monday evening that the Syrian forces came to within 1800 meters from breaking the siege of Deir Ezzor, which populates around 93 thousand civilians.

The governor of the Deir Ezzor said that the Syrian army would reach the city by Tuesday night.

Mohammed Ibrahim Samra said on Sunday that the Syrian army will arrive at the ISIS-controlled city in 24-48 hours at the most.

A military media unit run by Hezbollah said the advancing forces were heading to the besieged military’s garrison camp on the outskirts of Deir Ezzor.

While the latest advancement was surprising, Syrian opposition sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russian warplanes “had largely facilitated the regime’s move” towards the city of Deir Ezzor.

“The Russian warplanes participated actively in attacking the ISIS militants’ travels and in targeting their vehicles, positions and booby-trapped cars,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, reports revealed on Monday that the convoy of buses carrying ISIS militants, who had left the Qalamoun Jurud at the Syrian-Lebanese border last week as part of a deal between Hezbollah and the terrorist group, have already reached the towns of Anah and Rawa in Iraq at the border with Syria, taking shortcut roads in the Syrian desert.

The reports also revealed that their families were still trapped inside the Syrian territories.

However, military officials at the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq asserted that the convoy of 17 buses was still waiting for the seventh day under their observation near the town of Sukhnah in the desert while 6 buses from the convoy had returned to the regime-controlled city of Palmyra.