On December 4, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on ISIS hideouts in Deir Ezzor’s western desert, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“Russian warplanes re-targeted positions where ISIS fighters are hiding in al-Shula desert in Deir Ezzor [western] countryside, after they were absent from the air for about 24 continuous hours,” the London-based monitoring group said in a report.
The airstrikes were conducted in support of Syrian government forces, who launched a combing operation in the region a day earlier.
The operation, which is meant to push ISIS cells out from Deir Ezzor’s western desert, is being led by the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces.
ISIS cells carried out several attacks in the government-held part of Deir Ezzor over the last few weeks. Many service members and civilians were killed.
On December 2 only, the terrorists massacred nine civilians and a service member at a fake checkpoint they set up on al-Madhul – al-Bu Juma’a road in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor. The terrorists also killed two pro-government fighters in a hit-run-attack that targeted a position of the NDF in the outskirts of the town of al-Masrab in the northern countryside of the governorate.
While the ongoing combing operation will help secure Deir Ezzor, it will not likely end the threat posed by ISIS. The terrorist group’s cells are also active in the eastern Homs countryside, the eastern Hama countryside, the southern Aleppo countryside and the southern countryside of Raqqa.