After two months of intense fighting, Syria’s last major ISIS stronghold of Deir Ezzor city has been fully liberated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), and this comes just as the terror group is losing its final stronghold across the border in Iraq as the Iraqi army and paramilitary units liberate the city of al-Qaem.
The final fledgling terror resistance ended overnight as the SAA’s elite Tiger Forces and the Republican Guard yesterday liberated the city’s Jubaliyah neighborhood, the central park area, the school of law and education area and the southern part of the sprawling Hamidiyah neighborhood. The week witnessed rapid army victory as it pushed deep into the last remnants of ISIS presence in the city, with the group losing 40% of the area that it had been controlling in the northern part of the city in a matter of a mere few days.
Backed by Russian airstrikes, the Syrian army’s victory in Deir Ezzor has even anti-Assad pundits expressing shock and surprise that government forces could come back against such impossible odds. For much of the past year the city’s key military airport was besieged by ISIS while over 5000 civilians along with Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters were trapped inside the base with no food or supplies. According to various reports from correspondents on the ground, it was defended from near daily terror attacks by starving base residents, and supplied from government air drops. Many lost their lives just attempting to access some of the hard to reach airdrops on which the base’s survival depended, however, it was the SAA liberation of this key airport in early September that proved to be the final turning point of the breakdown of the ISIS stranglehold on the city.