BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:05 A.M.) – Russian military convoys delivered aid to civilians in Deir ez-Zor, on Saturday, days after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) broke the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) siege of the city.
Civilians waited in lines to receive the aid, chanting songs praising Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad and the Syrian Arab army.
The aid comes following news that further advances had been made in the city. On Friday, troops launched an operation to breach the Deir ez Zor airbase with the support of aviation and artillery. Fighting continued following the breakthrough of the blockade.
On Tuesday, SAA units had linked up with the previously-surrounded troops, thus breaking a three-year-long siege of the government-held enclave of Deir ez-Zor, with the help of the SAA Tiger Forces (also known as the Qawat Al-Nimr). In recent days, pro-government forces have made rapid advances with tanks and helicopters to push through IS lines. The link-up to the garrison followed days of fierce battles in which the SAA and its allies swiftly seized IS positions.
Deir ez-Zor, which is situated southeast of IS’ former stronghold of Raqqa, had been under siege by IS since 2014.