Liberation of Syria’s Es Sukhne from ISIS Opens Way for De-Blocking of Deir Ezzour: Russian MoD

MOSCOW-The Syrian Arab army and supporting forces in cooperation with the Russian Aerospace Force by Sunday morning liberated Es Sukhne, thus giving opportunity for offensive to Deir Ezzor, the Russian Defense Ministry said, Itar Tass reported.

"On August 13, 2017, in a joint action of the Russian Aerospace Force, units of the governmental forces and support forces west of the Homs Province, Es Sukhne is fully liberated from terrorists of the so-called Islamic State," the ministry said.

 The local media earlier reported the city’s liberation. The defense ministry explained, the operation had a few stages. By August 10, the Syrian forces "seized the neighboring strategically important heights and blocked the city," and by 03:00 on August 13, with support of the Russian pilots they repelled the terrorist from the northern and western areas.

"By 7 in the morning on August 13, in hard fighting units of the Syrian armed forces liberated from terrorists Es Sukhne’s central and southern parts, establishing full control over the city," the ministry said.

"The liberation of Es Sukhne from the ISIS terrorists opens the opportunity for the Syrian governmental forces for an offensive and de-blocking of Deir Ezzor," the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier on Sunday, in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said de-blocking of Deir Ezzor, which has been seized by ISIS for a few years, would be a milestone in fighting terrorism in Syria. "This is probably the milestone on Euphrates, which will to a big extent say about finishing fighting ISIS," he said, according to Itar Tass.

He added that Russia expects from international organizations assistance to civilians in Syria.

"Today we say: ‘Send [the aid] to the de-escalation zones, everything is open there. If you cannot transport, we shall transport for you.’ But we cannot be both the mother and the father. Thus, of course, here should be support from humanitarian organizations, from the United Nations Organization," Shoigu clarified.