Damascus-led forces have gradually "pushed Daesh out of areas which the militants captured in recent days," defense analyst Victor Murakhovsky said. There are signs indicating that the SAA "will be able to shut down the militant corridor thanks primarily to the airstrikes conducted by the Russian Aerospace Forces and specifically Tu-22M3 bombers."
Last week, Daesh encircled the Deir ez-Zor military airfield. The base remains the last line of defense of the Syrian army on the way to the city, which has been besieged by the militants for three years. Should the base and the city fall, civilians trapped there will be killed, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate, warned.
Murakhovsky said that Damascus was contemplating withdrawing its forces from Deir ez-Zor, but Russian air support has helped to prevent this scenario from playing out.
Russia first sent its Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range strategic bombers to target Daesh in Deir ez-Zor on Saturday. The missions were conducted for four days in a row.
Political analyst Alexander Perendzhiev, a lecturer at the Plekhanov Russia University of Economics, suggested that the Russian aerial operation in Deir ez-Zor will have larger implications.
"The airstrikes carried out by the Tu-22M3 aircraft against terrorist targets in Deir ez-Zor will help to push militants out of northern Syria and ensure the subsequent economic recovery of Aleppo, the most industrially developed Syrian province," he said.
The Syrian Arab Army, assisted by Russian aircraft and its local allies, liberated the city of Aleppo in December following a month-long campaign.
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