The Russian air force has destroyed a large column of Islamic State militants, vehicles and large caliber weapons heading to the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, the Russian defense ministry has said.
“The Russian Air Force destroyed another large column of ISIS fighters that was heading to the area of the city of Deir ez-Zor, where international terrorists are trying to regroup and equip their last base in Syria,” the statement says.
The ministry further noted that “more than 200 militants” have been killed in the strikes, which also destroyed “heavy vehicles with ammunition.”
The strike on the terrorist column destroyed around 20 SUVs armed with large-caliber weapons and mortars. Russian jets have also taken out a number of armored vehicles, including tanks, the ministry added.
The ministry noted that IS terrorists, having suffered heavy losses in Raqqa and Homs provinces, are now trying to make their last stand in Deir ez-Zor. The defeat of IS in the province will probably mark the defeat of the entire terrorist organization.
“The defeat of ISIS in the Deir ez-Zor region will be a strategic defeat for the international terrorist group in the Syrian Arab Republic,” the defense ministry underlined, echoing the words of Russia’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu.
Just over a week ago Shoigu said the fall of IS in Deir ez-Zor might signal the end of the jihadist’s self-proclaimed kingdom.
“Today there are key points, including Deir ez-Zor. I would say, first of all, Deir ez-Zor. There have been military actions for more than one year. People bravely fight there. Regularly, two or three, or it happens, four times a week, food, medicine, ammunition are being delivered there,” Shoigu said. “This is perhaps the main point at the Euphrates, which will in many ways indicate the end of the fight against ISIS.”
Although Damascus remains in control of most parts of the city, including its air base, IS terrorists have for years tried to break the government and territorial defense force’s resistance inside the encircled municipal center.
While thousands have fled over the years, an estimated 125,000 civilians are still living in Deir ez-Zor as the army continues their push to liberate the city from the siege.
In addition to Syrian and Russian airstrikes on ISIS targets in Wadi al-Tharda, Taliet Aloush and Sarit Jneid, army units on Sunday attacked terrorist positions in the cemetery area, Thardah, the Panorama and in the surroundings of Regiment 137, SANA reported.
Syria’s government news agency also reports that a “number of ISIS terrorist organization’s members have fled the province.”