Assad regime says it is close to full capture of Deir ez-Zor, divided since 2014


The Assad regime’s military is claiming a significant advance as it tries to recapture all of Deir ez-Zor city in eastern Syria from the Islamic State.

A military official told State media that four neighborhoods — al-Hamidiya, al-Jbiliah, al-Abed, and al-Jamaiat — have been regained. He said operations are ongoing on the southwest edge of the city, parts of which have been held by ISIS since 2014.

A SANA reporter said control had been established over a public park and the Nour Hospital. The pro-Assad site al-Masdar said ISIS fighters are now in a pocket east of the Euphrates River, with “97%” of Deir ez-Zor taken by the regime.

Footage from Russian State outlet RT:

Pro-Assad forces, including Hezbollah and Iranian-backed foreign militias enabled by Russian airstrikes, entered Deir ez-Zor Province at the start of September. They advanced quickly to the east, breaking a three-year ISIS siege on the regime positions in the divided city and in the nearby airbase. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led, US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces took ISIS territory to the north and east of the city.

The advances have now raised the prospect of clashes between the pro-Assad offensive — which now includes Iranian Revolutionary Guards units, according to al-Masdar — and the SDF to the south of Deir ez-Zor city, along the Euphrates. The two sides are also now likely to race each other towards the last major ISIS position, the town of al-Bukamal on the Syria-Iraq border.

Video: Missile Strike on Douma Near Damascus

Footage of more regime strikes on Douma, near Damascus, on Thursday:

Despite a Russian-promoted “de-escalation zones”, pro-Assad forces have controlled shelling and strikes on the East Ghouta area, killing scores of people in recent week. Local activists said at least four people died in yesterday’s assault.

Video: Interim Government Formed in Northwest Syria

Bilal Abdul Kareem reports on the interim government formed in northwest Syria with the involvement of the Syrian National Coalition and local activists, in a process brokered by Turkey.

The head of the new government has been named as Dr. Mohammad al-Sheikh.

Report: Syrian Filmmaker Faked Assassination Attempt

Amid a series of killings of Syrian opposition activists and journalists in Turkey, a filmmaker has reportedly faked an attempt on his life to help promote his work.

Mohammad Bayazid was in Turkey last month promoting his film The Tunnel, which documented torture at the Assad regime’s prison in Palmyra, when he was allegedly stabbed in the chest.

Bayazid claimed the attack was an assassination attempt by regime agents, apparently because of his work.

However, video by one of Bayazid’s producers, Mohammad al-Hindi, shows conversations in May and June with the director in which Bayazid declares that the “assassination” publicity will spur his documentaries: “Arabs, Arabs, Arabs… When they see that this project has taken the spotlight, they will start donating.”

At least six Syrian activists and journalists have been slain in Turkey since October 2015, beginning with journalists Fares Hamadi and Ibrahim Abd al-Qader in a town near the Syrian border in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. In December 2015, prominent anti-ISIS activist and journalist Naji Jerf was shot and killed in downtown Gaziantep.

In late September, opposition activist Orouba Barakat and her daughter, journalist Hala Barakat, were found stabbed to death in their Istanbul apartment.

See Syria’s Journalists Facing Assassination in Turkey

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