AlMasdarNews reports: Clashes continued all over Deir Ezzor and its outskirts on Thursday as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Islamic State fought over control of the embattled city.
According to a military source close to Al-Masdar News, Islamic State fighters attempted to infiltrate the Al-Sinaa district in the eastern part of the city but were repelled by machine gun and sniper fire, resulting in the confirmed death of 4 ISIS militants.
Meanwhile, SAA commanders called upon airstrikes to target jihadist gatherings in ISIS-held parts of the city and obstruct any upcoming offensives on government-held districts.
Specifically, joint Russian and Syrian jets flew sorties over Ayash village, Saqr Island, Murat village along with militant positions on the perimeter of the recently destroyed Al-Siyasiyah Bridge. ISIS’ exact casualties due to the airstrikes could not be determined, but the Al-Masdar source said it was likely in the dozens.
On a different axis, upon observing a militant build-up at the Al-Omar oilfield, SAA artillery units shelled the site and also launched missiles upon its facilities, destroying three ISIS technicals, two fuel trucks and killing an unknown number of insurgents.
Furthermore, the Syrian military in Deir Ezzor was notified by local informants that the Islamic State Emir of the ‘Al-Mohassan’ region was traveling in the countryside on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
Attempting to harass his convoy and possibly take out the prominent ISIS figure, SAA units shelled the convoy from afar. Surveillance units confirmed that one vehicle was destroyed and another damaged; however, it could not be confirmed if the Emir himself was killed.
Neither side yielded any territorial gains on Friday but approximately 50 Islamic State combattants were killed across the city and its countryside throughout the day.
The SAA maintains a largely defensive posture in the Deir Ezzor governorate, focusing on minimizing government casualties while conducting occasional hit-and-run operations. If the siege of the city is to be lifted, it will require a large-scale SAA offensive from Palmyra or for the ‘Popular Mobilization Units’ (PMU) to come to the aid of Deir Ezzor city from across the border in Iraq, a plan the PMU leadership has been flirting with in recent weeks.