Deir ez-Zor has been recently liberated by the Syrian forces, but the area is still in ruins after the three-year-long siege by Daesh. Sputnik has spoken with a Syrian brigadier general on the operation to free the city.
The image of the areas of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor that were liberated from Daesh (a terrorist group banned in Russia) is not very different from what one could see in other Syrian cities, with 80-90 percent of homes left completely destroyed following years of fighting.
“We are currently creating a database. According to preliminary estimates, the number of the killed is reaching 3,000. Out of these 1,145 were the members of the city’s security forces, 800 were civilians and 700 were members of civil defense,” the province’s governor Muhammed Samra told Sputnik Wednesday.
On November 3, the Syrian General Staff has declared that Syrian forces, backed by their allies, had fully liberated Deir ez-Zor. The army command stressed the importance of this victory, given the city’s strategic location at the intersection of the roads connecting the eastern part of the country with its north and center.
Fight for the City
According to a Syrian brigadier general, tactics the terrorists used was to deploy so-called inghimasi units, groups of militants that try to inflict as much damage as possible with firearms and only detonate their suicide vests when overwhelmed.
“If [the inghimasi] manage to establish control over the territory, then larger groups follow. Suicide vests were found on the majority of the dead militants,” the general told Sputnik.
According to him, the army managed to intercept the terrorists’ radio traffic, pointing out that the militants spoke not only Arabic, but also other languages, as well as dialects of Iraq, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
The general has recalled how the terrorists had attacked the Syrian forces on an almost daily basis, using car bombs and inghimasi units, but the army kept repelling them despite the ongoing siege, and issues with food and equipment deliveries.
“For three years of the siege, we were fighting on two fronts, the first to break the siege and the second against the IS [Daesh] terrorists. Within several days, with fire support and airstrikes carried out by the allies, we managed to strike a blow to the IS that considered itself indestructible. Now we are pursuing those that fled to the other bank of the Euphrates River,” the general said.
As soon as the road to the city was unblocked, the militants tried to drive the foreign leaders of the grouping and the local militants out of the city, but the Syrian army killed most of them, the general added.
The army is now moving toward the town of Abu Kamal, the last major stronghold of Daesh. In Deir ez-Zor, one can still hear shooting, explosions and airstrikes. According to the general, several hot spots still remain on the other bank of the Euphrates.
“We gave [the terrorists] time to surrender, some of whom already did. But a number of militants are still in hiding, and the operation continues. We will eradicate IS [Daesh] in Deir ez-Zor and its outskirts,” the general has stated.
From the megaphones in the city, one can hear calls to surrender.
The Syrian army broke the three-year siege of Deir ez-Zor in early September, encircling several groups in the city and starting mopping-up operations in the city blocks.