‘Tables have turned, battle goes on’: ISIS surrounded in Deir ez-Zor – Syrian Army to RT
After the siege of Deir ez-Zor province was breached during the first week of September, the Syrian army supported by the Russian Air Force have encountered stubborn IS resistance in the surrounding neighborhoods of the city.
“Every day there is combat. They’ll use heavy weapons from range, or they’ll try to infiltrate in the middle of the night. They attack with suicide vests and car bombs. The battle goes on everyday,” Syrian Army officer, Ibrahim, told RT's Murad Gazdiev shortly before he and his crew came under heavy shelling from ISIS positions.
The RT crew also came under fire while reporting from Syrian artillery position overlooking the industrial part of Deir ez-Zor, the same spot where a Russian lieutenant-general, Valery Asapov, was fatally wounded by an exploding shell in a sudden mortar attack by IS terrorists.
Terrorists are throwing everything they have in a desperate attempt to hold their positions, using the Euphrates River to replenish their numbers and supplies. On Wednesday, the army targeted ISIS fighters in the Hweijet al-Saker area, the neighborhoods of al-Hweiqa, al-Arddi, Khassarat and Kanamat as well as al-Husseinia village to the northeast of the city, SANA reported.
According to reports, Syrian forces also managed to repel an terrorist attack on the village of Hatlah Tahtani which is vital to control Saqr Island east of Deir ez-Zor city. The island serves as a key position for control of the northern part of the city.
Despite the IS resistance, the army hopes to clear the city within days.
“The city of Deir ez-Zor will be liberated in a week, at the most. And we’ll free some of the suburbs too. The cost will undoubtedly be high… it’s a challenging battleground. From dense urban areas – to lush river banks and even trenches,” Ibrahim noted.
Syrian forces are also successfully pushing IS to the east of Euphrates River, a report by Al-Masdar News said. Syrian forces are using the specially constructed bridge, erected by Russian engineers, to move military hardware and additional troops between the banks of the river.
Securing the rest of Deir ez-Zor province might prove to be more difficult, as Moscow and Damascus fear that while Washington claims it is focused on fighting Islamic State terrorists, on the ground, the US-led forces act in a different manner.
On Sunday, the Russian Ministry of Defense published aerial images which they say show US Army special forces equipment located north of Deir ez-Zor, where pockets of IS terrorists are holding their ground.
The US troops do not face any “resistance from the ISIS militants,” while their positions have no screening patrol, which could indicate that they “feel absolutely safe” in the area, the ministry said.
While Washington has denied the accusations, troops of the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), a predominantly Kurdish militia backed by the US military, have recently attacked positions of the Syrian Arab Army in the Deir ez-Zor governorate, aiming to assert control over the oil and gas rich region of eastern Syria.
Despite this, Damascus hopes to clear all the terrorists from Syria by the end of the year. At the start of the week, the Russian military said Syrian armed forces had regained control of some 87.4 percent of the country’s territory.
“I say that the main battles in Syria are coming to an end, and, therefore, we are completing the last chapter in the history of the crisis,” Syria's foreign minister, Walid Muallem told RT Arabic in an exclusive interview. “The Syrian state intends to liberate every inch of our country from terrorists. If we manage to do this before the end of this year, then we will only be happy about it.”