Major General of the Syrian Republican Guard Issam Zahreddine said that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and allied forces have «destroyed IS and its dreams» in Deir ez-Zor, speaking from the frontlines about 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) from the city, Tuesday.
«Despite the siege by Daesh, and the scarcity of all needs of survival, water, electricity, food, the army and the friendly forces persevered in... Еще defending Deir ez-Zor,» Zahreddine said.
The general described the siege by self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL/ISIS), now falling apart, saying, «we were like an island in the middle of an ocean, totally isolated.»
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).
The SAA reached the Brigade 137 base on the western edge of Deir ez-Zor, where a garrison of the Syrian army had been surrounded by IS since 2014.
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. Much of Deir ez-Zor province, including a military air base and a number of towns and villages, remains under IS control.
Deir ez-Zor, which is situated southeast of IS' former stronghold of Raqqa, has been under siege by IS since 2014.
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