05:51 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Syrian pro-government forces sit in the back of an armed vehicle in Bir Qabaqib, more than 40 kilometres west of Deir Ezzor, after taking control of the area on their way to Kobajjep in the ongoing battle against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on September 4, 2017

    Syrian Army Drives Daesh Out of Key Positions on Palmyra-Deir ez-Zor Highway

    © AFP 2019 / George OURFALIAN
    Middle East
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    The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Syrian army is advancing toward the besieged city of Deir ez-Zor with the assistance of the Russian aviation.

    The Syrian government forces have driven Daesh terrorists out of strategic positions on the Palmyra-Deir ez-Zor highway, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

    "Syrian army's units conducting the offensive from the direction of as-Sukhnah [city in the Raqqa province], have driven Daesh terrorists out from positions they had controlled on the highway from Palmyra to Deir-ez-Zor."

    The ministry added that the Syrian Armed Force's group conducting the operation to free Deir ez-Zor has advanced 8 kilometers over the past 24 hours and captured 2 strategic heights in the region.

    Russian airstrikes near Deir-ez-Zor helping the Syrian army's operation left some 70 terrorists dead and injured, the ministry said. Russian warplanes have conducted a total of 80 combat sorties to support the Damascus' offensive.

    "Two tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, over 10 off-road vehicles equipped with heavy arms have been destroyed as a result of the [Russian] airstrikes. Terrorists lost a total of 70 fighters who were killed or injured," the Russian ministry said.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said that the victory over Daesh terrorists in Deir ez-Zor and the lifting of the city's siege "will become the strategic loss of the international terrorist group in the Syrian Arab Republic."

    The Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces has been advancing toward Deir ez-Zor from three directions as part of the campaign to free the city launched in August.

    Earlier in the day, an informed source told Sputnik that the Syrian government troops are fighting against Daesh terrorists some 20 kilometers from the city of Deir-ez-Zor.

    "The soldiers of Gen. Suheil are located 18-20 kilometers away from the city of Deir ez-Zor," the source said.

    "The army is advancing from two directions. The first one is from the south, where the fighting is underway some 40 kilometers away from the city. The second direction is from the south-west," the source added.

    The army's troops are approaching Deir ez-Zor's airbase and are ready to lift Daesh's blockade of the city. According to eyewitnesses cited by the source, people in the besieged city feel optimistic and celebrate the military's rapid success.

    Large numbers of terrorists were killed in airstrikes conducted by Russian and Syrian air forces over the past 24 hours, which has enabled the Syrian army to accelerate the offensive, the source added.

    The lifting of the siege of Deir ez-Zor will lead to the complete defeat of the most combat-effective formations of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria, the chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operational Directorate said earlier.

    Deir ez-Zor, located on the shores of the Euphrates River to the northeast of Damascus, and a military airfield near the city have been besieged by Daesh for over three years, with food and ammunition only being delivered by air.


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    Daesh, Russian Defense Ministry, Deir Ez-Zor, Palmyra, Syria, Russia
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