Russian Defense Ministry said at least 200 ISIS fighters have been killed in air strikes near the city of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, the last major stronghold of the terrorist organization in that part of the country.
Russian ministry said the air strikes targeted armored vehicles and trucks. The British based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 70 ISIS fighters were killed in Russian air strikes.
Deir ez-Zor is a strategically important location in eastern Syria, and one of the largest cities in the country. Syrian government forces, aided by Russia air power and Iranian and Hezbollah militias, have managed to wrestle back significant chunks of Syrian territory from ISIS and other rebel groups.
However, government held areas in Deir ez-Zor are still under siege from ISIS, with hundreds of thousands civilians currently trapped in the city.
Russia carried out a series of air strikes against ISIS positions near the city, in order to prevent the government held enclave from being captured by the terrorist group.
Earlier this month, government forces took the last ISIS held town in Homs province – Sukhnah. Aided by Russian air strikes, Syrian Arab Army continues to advance along the main road through the eastern desert, towards Deir ez-Zor.
Russian Defense Ministry said that ISIS is preparing to make a last stand in Deir ez-Zor.
“Syrian government forces supported by Russian Aerospace forces are swiftly pushing from three directions towards Deir ez-Zor at the moment. The foothold around the city is the last stronghold of terrorists on Syrian soil,” said Russian General Staff spokesman Sergey Rudskov on Monday.
He said that ISIS is amassing forces around Deir ez-Zor, as the Syrian army and allies are preparing for a final assault on their positions.
“The remaining [terrorist] forces are heading there. According to our data, militants from Mosul [in Iraq] moved there and the most battle-ready units from Raqqa,” Rudskoy stated.
ISIS units are completely shattered in the area. The Syrian Army is advancing at a speed of 30-40km a day there. The defeat of the main forces of the most odious terrorist group, ISIS, which intended to create a so-called ‘caliphate,’ will be completed with lifting the siege of Deir ez-Zor.
While the defeat of ISIS in Syria now seems imminent, anti-regime forces continue to control other areas of the country. But the position of Assad’s regime looks much stronger now than it was two years ago.