On September 8, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces and 5th Assault Corps, the Syrian Republican Guard (SRG), Liwa al-Quds and other pro-government units continued their large-scale anti-ISIS operation in the area of the city of Deir Ezzor.
Government forces developed momentum in two directions:
- The SAA Tiger Forces and Liwa al-Quds advanced on the village of ash-Sholah at the Sukhna-Deir Ezzor highway where an intense fighting between government troops and ISIS members have been ongoing since the last weekend. According to some pro-government sources, the SAA and its allies even captured the village. However, they were not able to confirm this with photos or videos yet.
- The 5th Assault Corps and the SRG advanced in the direction of Ayyash village northwest of Deir Ezzor city after they had expanded a government-held corridor to the 137th Brigade Base in western Deir Ezzor and Tal al Sannouf northwest of the city. According to pro-government sources, the goal of this push is to take control over Ayyash and to prepare for a wider effort to secure the entire northwestern flank of Deir Ezzor. On September 7, photos appeared showing a convoy of pontoon bridges and boats arriving Dier Ezzor. The SAA will likely use them to cross the Euphrates River after the situation is stabilized on the southern flank of the city.
Separately, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Russian warplanes destroyed an ISIS command center and a communication hub near Deir Ezzor city and killed about 40 ISIS members, including the terrorist group’s minister of war, Gulmurod Khalimov and Emir of Deir Ezzor, Abu Muhammad al-Shimali.
Meanwhile, ISIS has released an infographics claiming that its members have killed 640 goverment troops and destroyed 83 vehicles, including 25 battle tanks, in thea areas of Sukhna (Homs province), Ghanem Ali (Raqqah province) and Deir Ezzor city (Deir Ezzor province) over the last 2 months. ISIS members also conducted 9 suicide bombings during this period.
The numbers provided by ISIS look questionable, especially a low number of suicide bombings in the area. The terrorist group constantly uses suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) on the all aforementioned fronts.
On September 7, Syrian Defense Minister General Fahd Jassem Al-Freij visited the city of Deir Ezzor: