Syrian army, allies break Islamic State siege in eastern city

Syrian army, allies break Islamic State siege in eastern city
From Reuters - September 5, 2017

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces on Tuesday reached troops besieged for years by Islamic State in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, one of the militants last major footholds, state media said.

Tanks and troops had pressed quickly toward a government-held enclave in the city, where Islamic State had encircled thousands of civilians and Syrian forces since 2014.

The Syrian army and its allies break the siege on Deir al-Zor, said a military media unit run by the governments ally Hezbollah.

State media and a war monitoring group also said that the advancing forces had linked up with the besieged troops at a garrison on the western edge of the city.

Syrian state news agency SANA said residents inside the city were celebrating the army advance.

Islamic State still controls much of Deir al-Zor province,including half the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said a nearby military air base in the south of the city and three adjacent neighborhoods were still under siege by the jihadists.

Deir al-Zor provincial governor Mohammed Ibrahim Samra said government troops were pushing toward the air base.



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