DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Syrian President Bashar Assad, in a telephone conversation with Deir ez-Zor defense commanders, congratulated the city's defenders on the lifting of a three-year blockade organized by the Daesh terrorist group, the Syrian presidential press service said in a statement Tuesday.
"It will be recorded in history how you, despite your small number, sacrificed the most valuable for the sake of civilians… Today, you and your friends fought shoulder to shoulder to lift the siege of the city," the statement quoted Assad as saying.
Russian Vladimir Putin sent a telegram congratulating Assad on the success of the Deir ez-Zor operation conducted by Syrian army on the ground assiated by Russian airstrikes.
"President Putin sent a telegram to the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Assad, in which he highly praised this strategic victory and congratulated the Syrian president on this important step towards the liberation of the territory of Syria from terrorism," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Earlier in the day the three-year siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor has been broken due to the Syrian government forces' operation.
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, while helicopters from the city of Qamishli have been evacuating the wounded and delivering essential supplies to the city's population.
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.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier today that a Black Sea frigate launched strikes with cruise missiles on Daesh targets in Syria from the Mediterranean as part of the operation to free Deir ez-Zor from Daesh terrorists.