BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:20 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) resumed their military operations at Deir Ezzor’s largest island, today, in a new bid to take control of the crossing to the Hatla District.

Led by detachments from the Republican Guard and 5th Legion, the Syrian Arab Army attacked the Islamic State’s defenses at Saqr Island’s Central Park, scoring a new advance after a fierce battle this afternoon.

Saqr Island is situated directly east of the Deir Ezzor Military Airport; its proximity to this strategic installation makes it a top priority for the Syrian Arab Army’s High Command.

Once Saqr Island is cleared of Islamic State terrorists, the Syrian Army will turn their attention to the Hatla District that is located along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Hatla was once inhabited by a large Shiite population; however, most of the civilians fled this district after rebel forces executed more than 60 people in a sectarian-driven massacre.

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