Syria Daily: Pro-Assad Forces Close on Deir ez-Zor City

Deir ez-Zor city in 2014 (File)

Troops 3 km away from Deir ez-Zor, according to pro-Assad media


UPDATE 1700 GMT: Claimed footage of advancing pro-Assad forces making contact with those who have been besieged for years near Deir ez-Zor city:

Pro-Assad outlets says the Assad regime’s military and its foreign allies are close to breaking the three-year Islamic State siege of Deir ez-Zor city and the nearby military airport in eastern Syria.

The pro-Assad offensive has made a rapid advance in the last week, completing the capture of almost all ISIS territory in eastern Hama Province and then moving east into Deir ez-Zor Province.

State TV said pro-Assad forces are now only 3 km (2 miles) from the city limits. Hezbollah’s military media unit said units are heading to a camp on the city outskirts.

“Islamic State is in confusion. There is no leadership or centralized control,” a pro-Assad commander declared.

The Russian Defense Ministry hailed its role in operations:

To provide air support to the government troops’ offensive towards Deir ez-Zor, Russian warplanes made more than 80 sorties. The airstrikes destroyed two tanks, three armored infantry carriers and more than ten all-terrain vehicles equipped with heavy weapons. Losses among terrorists amounted to more than 70 men.

The Ministry also said a Russian warship in the Mediterranean Sea fired Kalibr cruise missiles at ISIS positions.

Deir ez-Zor city has been divided between ISIS and regime forces since 2014, and the Islamic State has held most of the province, besieging almost 100,000 people in the city. However, facing not only the pro-Assad assault but also the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the rebels of the Free Syrian Army, ISIS has lost almost all its territory except for Deir ez-Zor since the start of the year.

The provincial governor, Mohammad Ibrahim Samra, said on Sunday, “Despite the shelling and injured, things are running in the city. The institutions are running, the bakeries. Water is also pumped twice a week to our residents, aid is distributed daily.”

Turkey Again Denounces US Arms to Kurdish Militia YPG

Turkey has launched another verbal assault on US support for the Kurdish militia YPG, the leading group in the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the Islamic State in northern Syria.

Turkish officials claim that the US has provided 1,285 truckloads of weapons and ammunition to the YPG, which Ankara considers to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, in contrast to the US position of 60 trucks of arms.

Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli challenged the statements of American counterpart James Mattis, with Ministry officials saying that Canikli gave Mattis aerial photographs on August 23 proving Ankara’s assertion.

Canikli’s line, published in the pro-Government Daily Sabah, is a pointed rebuff to Mattis. The officials claim that the 1,285 truckloads are enough to equip at least 60,000 soldiers, shredding Mattis’s case — as portrayed by the Turks — that the weapons are for US forces in Syria and Iraq as well as for the SDF.

Mattis has told Turkey’s Defense Ministers, in a June letter as well as the August meeting, that the American support of the YPG is “tactical” and not a sign of an alliance that poses a threat to Turkey.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. Liwa Al Shimal, fighters from #DeirEzzor, have joined the #SDF after leaving #Turkey-led Euphrates Shield #Syria 9/4/2017

    The SDF are the most effective counter IS force, says US Commander 9/1/2017

    YPG commander called Russia to show a clear stance against Turkey 9/2/2017

  2. EU officials fear that TurkStream will be expanded to bypass Ukraine as a transit route for supplies to Europe, increasing dependence on Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and shutting in alternative supplies from the Caspian region. “Turkey’s new friendship with Russia might become an issue if Russia tries to replace Turkey for Ukraine,” a senior EU official said. “It makes sense for Turkey to get cheap gas from Russia, but it will come with strings attached: That is likely to be a problem for us.” 8/1/2016

    “An interesting fact. Both Hungary and Greece have been outsiders in the European Union over the recent months. The fact that the two countries are involved in the Russian pipeline project may accelerate centrifugal forces within the bloc,” 10/12/2016

    They first announced plans for the Turkish Stream pipeline, or TurkStream, at the end of 2014. The project was interrupted after Turkey shot down the Russian jet in Syria, but resumed in 2016 after Erdogan apologized. 6/23/2017

    • Nothing boosts the egos of Presidents-for-life more than sitting together and announcing plans to take on economic powerhouses that actually finance, build, and deliver mega-projects. It is all for domestic consumption. To keep a false narrative alive that their countries are developing at a rapid pace, and a 1st-world living standard is just around the corner. Having closed down the press and thrown every journalist in jail, allows these Presidents-for-life to continue with their propaganda. Their subjects generally being half-educated and half-literate more than often fall for these charades.

    • And why not? After loosing swaths of Syria in 2014 to the rebels, what other way to destroy the revolution but exclusively fighting secular FSA, and at the same time (Assad, Erdowan, Qatar, etc.) empowering deranged extremist anti-West Jihadists to snatch the liberated areas away from the rebellion and then due to unpopularity fold like paper tigers when Assad comes around mopping them up? Not exactly a conspiracy, but Assad and Putin and Khamenei outsmarting a lot of people. The only place that ISIS put up a real fight was Raqqa – against western forces.

      • It’s a ludicrous conspiracy theory which requires its adherents to wilfully ignore a mountain of contrary evidence, but suit yourself by all means.

        Also, IS have put up a real fight all the way from Palmyra to DeZ, but fighting in the open desert does them no favours against an enemy with air supremacy, whereas a dense & well-prepared city is easier for IS to defend, so they can hold out longer.

      • You people are like a broken record. Every time the Syrian forces and their allies have a victory over ISIS you insist they are not really fighting ISIS but the FSA. Never mind that Deir Ezzor has been under siege from ISIS for 3 years.

        The war is over dude. Assad/Iran/Russia/Hezbollah won and it’s time you got used to the idea.

        • Ahlan wa sahlan yâ axi – our Australian “I self-hate the west, but love its benefits, especially when drywall fetches a lot of dough.”. Hard to get used to the idea of left-fascism. Look at the bright side Assad lost about a third of Syria, permanently.

          • Kazemi you conflate hating the West with not supporting every the West does. At the time of the Vietnam war, that woild have made you a supporter if that war. During the civil rights movement, you would have been on the side of Jim Crowe and apartheid

            • Fair comment. But me suspects that your opposition to some of what the West does is not rational but ideological “anti-imperialism” with socialist/Marxist roots. And before you say “Iraq”, I will say that there was nothing or little gained, and economically little expected to be gained, by the invasion of Iraq. And your support of a bloody dictator belies any of your claims to liberties, liberalism, democracy, and market capitalism.

              • I will say that there was nothing or little gained, and economically little expected to be gained, by the invasion of Iraq.

                Yes, you will say it, which I charitably read as meaning even you don’t actually believe this retroactive and exculpatory article of faith which only had to be invented after the warcriminal Yanki oil-thieves were unceremoniously booted out by the Iraqi Resistance. If you do, though, that can only be the result of wilful and extreme delusion or a total ignorance of the quite recent history.

                In advance of the invasion, however, the NeoCon reasoning was precisely the opposite, claiming that the ‘cakewalk’ rape and pillage of Iraq would be extremely lucrative, paying for itself many times over.

                Why do you think the noted political altruist Cheney was secretly huddled with Exxon, Shell and BP executives in the Offal Orifice by March 2001, pouring over detailed maps of Iraq’s oil and gas resources, and refused to release any details thereof until the illegal invasion had been safely accomplished, over a year after having received a federal court order to do so?


                “These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public,” says Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton. “This was not about national security. This was about an undersecretary talking to a lobbyist.” [JUDICIAL WATCH, 7/17/2003; JUDICIAL WATCH, 7/17/2003; DUBOSE AND BERNSTEIN, 2006, PP. 14-15] Authors Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein call the Iraqi oil field documents “stunning,” and ask: “Why were the vice president and a group of oilmen poring over maps of Iraq long before there was any pretext to invade the country? Iraq’s oil was technically embargoed and under UN control—why make plans for divvying up oil reserves?” Dubose and Bernstein believe that Cheney may have been planning for US control of Iraq long before the Bush administration’s public push for war with that nation. Fitton is not so sure, but says worriedly: “We don’t know because we weren’t given the context. We have no way of knowing what they were deliberating.” [DUBOSE AND BERNSTEIN, 2006, PP. 14-15]

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