BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) lifted the 28 month long siege on the Deir Ezzor Governorate this afternoon, following a two month long battle with the so-called Islamic State (ISIL) in eastern Syria.
While this is no doubt a remarkable achievement for the Syrian Army, it is only a small glimpse into the battle that awaits them as they push deeper into the Deir Ezzor Governorate.
In particular, the next phase of the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive will concentrate on lifting the siege imposed by the Islamic State on the Deir Ezzor Military Airport.
Unlike the siege on the city, the Syrian Arab Army will not have the luxury of pushing through several kilometers of desert landscape to reach the provincial capital.
Instead, they will have to fight the Islamic State in the heavily fortified Thardeh Mountains that overlook the Deir Ezzor Airport from its western perimeter.
Liberating the Thardeh Mountains will be no easy task, given the large number of Islamic State terrorists that are present between this mountaintop and the Panorama area.
However, with air assistance from the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian Arab Army should eventually break-through the Islamic State’s lines to retake the Thardeh Mountains.
The Thardeh Mountains were previously under the control of the Syrian Arab Army until October 2016, when the U.S. Coalition ‘accidentally’ bombed the latter, killing over 100 soldiers and forcing the remaining military personnel to withdraw to the airport.