With the ink announcing the liberation of ancient Palmyra (Tadmur) barely dry off the books of history, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has now embarked upon a new mission – breaking the ISIS-imposed siege on the strategic city of Deir Ezzor.
Today, Syrian government troops – spearheaded by the elite Tiger Forces – captured some 4 kilometers of road eastwards along the M7-Highway that leads from Palmyra to the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor.
Meanwhile, ISIS has reportedly placed hundreds of mines and improvised explosives all along the M7-Highway in an effort to prevent the Syrian Army from reaching its comrades inside the besieged city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.
Nevertheless, during the early morning hours, Russia announced it had sent up-to-date military hardware as to clear these mines with as few casualties as possible.
Intel given to Al-Masdar News also suggests that ISIS fighters have set up a new strong defensive line on the outskirts of the town of As Sukhnah – however, this area is currently being heavily bombed by Russian war planes as to prevent fortifications from being built.
With Major General Suheil al-Hassan (he often goes under his alias “The Tiger”) leading the Tiger Forces along the M7-Highway, the next big battle is likely to take place at the village of Arak which is surrounded by the most rich oil region in all of Syria.
If the SAA is able to capture Arak and its oil fields, the economy of the Islamic State will be dealt an almost unbearable blow. This would also have government troops slice directly through the very heart of the caliphate, effectively splitting its regions across Syria in two.
With an estimated 100.000 civilians currently living inside the besieged government-held districts of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian military has put in charge another well-known Major General, Issam Zahreddine, in an attempt to contain ISIS from capturing the city entirely.
Issam Zahreddine is the commander-in-chief of the Republican Guard, the SAA’s strongest force in terms of defensive warfare. Thereby, his deployment suggests the utmost priority to maintaining control of the city.
Nevertheless, the Tiger Forces must push through some 140 kilometers of ISIS-held territory before it can reach the besieged city of Deir Ezzor.
However, this area is almost exclusively made up of desert sand and as such, the terrain itself does not seem to pose a significant obstacle to the Syrian Arab Army’s efforts.