Syrian authorities and the military have found another major terrorist arsenal, including rocket launchers, portable anti-tank weapons, grenades and assault rifles, as well as communications equipment, gas masks, medical supplies and special clothing.
The latest discovery was made in a desert settlement in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, the military and local authorities made the find on Wednesday in cooperation with local residents. The hiding place was said to have been used by Daesh (ISIS)* to coordinate their operations in the province's countryside amid a recent uptick in hit-and-run attacks in the area. Alongside the equipment and supplies were several of Daesh's ubiquitous black and white flags.
The Syrian Army and US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces began rapidly liberating wide swatches of Deir ez-Zor province from Daesh in 2017, with Syrian troops freeing the city of Deir ez-Zor in October of that year after a brutal three-year blockade. During the siege, Daesh militants prevented food and supplies from entering the city, and shelled its civilian areas. The siege forced the Syrian army and its Russian allies to airdrop hundreds of tonnes of supplies into the city.
Syria and Iraq declared victory over Daesh in late 2017, when the self-proclaimed 'caliphate's' control of wide swathes of the two countries essentially collapsed. The Trump administration declared victory over the terrorist group in January 2019, but has waffled on President Trump's earlier promises to withdraw all US troops from Syria following Daesh's defeat.
The foreign-backed civil conflict in Syria began in 2011 during the so-called 'Arab Spring' series of protests across the Middle East. The war has left up to 570,000 people dead and much of the country in ruins, and contributed heavily to the European migrant crisis which began in 2015. In 2018, with most of the country cleared of a broad array of Islamist terrorist groups, Russia, Iran and Turkey became guarantors of a countrywide ceasefire, with the province of Idlib in the country's northwest now remaining the only country where a sizeable number of anti-government militants remains present.
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.