Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched an assault on the southern sector of Deir Ezzor in a bid to link up with besieged government troops at Deir Ezzor Airbase.
Led by the 104th Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard, the National Defence Forces (NDF) and 137th Mechanized Brigade of the 17th Reserve Division, Syrian government troops attacked Tall Aloush, a strategic hill in the cemetery area, and engaged in a fierce battle with ISIS militants defending the imperative high point.
However, by late afternoon on Monday, Islamic State forces had thoroughly repelled the government offensive; at least 10 SAA soldiers were killed-in-action while ISIS only sustained a handful of casualties.
Regardless, joint Syrian and Russian airstrikes targeted ISIS insurgents across the provincial capital – sorties targeted the Al-Sanouf hill, Al-Rawad hill, Al-Rashdiyah district, Al-Baghiliyah village, hill 17 and the Al-Sinaa suburb.
Should the SAA take control of Tall Aloush in a renewed attack, this advance would pave the way to reach Deir Ezzor Airbase. Due to ISIS commanders realizing the hill’s importance, the site is heavily fortified by jihadist fighters.
The city’s airport was cutoff from government-held districts in downtown Deir Ezzor following an Islamic State offensive in January.
Recently, government forces have made modest gains on the perimeter of Deir Ezzor although ISIS seems to have gained the upper hand in the battle for the eastern city.