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Country Risk

Syrian troops lift siege of Dayr al-Zawr

08 September 2017
A photograph released by SANA on 7 September shows tanks – including one of Syria's new Russian-supplied T-62Ms – purportedly near Kabajib. Source: SANA

The Syrian government announced on 5 September that its troops had lifted the siege of the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr after breaking through Islamic State lines.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said government troops made the breakthrough near the 137 Regiment’s base, which is on the western side of the government-controlled enclave in and around the city, and that the first convoy carrying medical and food aid arrived on 7 September.

The operation was the culmination of a three-month campaign to drive into the heart of the middle Euphrates valley and relieve the civilians and soldiers trapped in Dayr al-Zawr, thereby ending a three-year encirclement.

In a 6 September video news conference, Colonel General Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian forces in Syria, said government troops had staged a three-day long advance moving at 15–20 km per day to reach the city.

“In [the] course of the offensive operation, units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) commanded by General Suheil al-Hassan have penetrated the staggered defence of the ISIS [Islamic State] grouping and unblocked Dayr al-Zawr from the northwestern direction,” he said.

“A part of the Syrian [force] carried out a deception operation in order to deceive the enemy and hide the main strike direction. Terrorists used about 50 car bombs, 28 of which were eliminated by assault units of the government troops at long distances,” he added.

Col Gen Surovikin said the Russian military had increased its sortie rate to 100 per day to support the operation. “Within the last two weeks, Russian aircraft have conducted 1,417 combat sorties. They have made 2,687 aviation strikes,” he said.

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