On November 3, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces and the Republican Guard liberated the strategic city of Deir Ezzor after government forces retook the neighborhoods of Uthaniyah and al-Hawiqah in the northern part of the city. The victory in Deir Ezzor was officially confirmed by the Syrian Defense Ministry in the morning.
Now, the SAA and its allies are working to secure its success and to clear Al-Sefsef Island located between the recently liberated northern part of the city and the eastern bank of Euphrates.
The liberation of Deir Ezzor followed a series of rapid advances of the Tiger Forces and the Republican Guard that allowed government forces to restore control over a wide area, including the neighborhoods of Sheikh Yassin, al-Hamidiyah, Jubaliyah, Kanamat, Khassarat, Badr and Old Airport and other points.
The liberation of Deir Ezzor is a key part of the wider effort of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian coalition against ISIS in eastern Syria. Now, government forces and their allies will be able to develop advance on the last major ISIS-held town in Syria – al-Bukamal.
Military situation in Deir Ezzor city on November 2:
OVERVIEW OF DEIR EZZOR CITY OPERATION:
The preparations to liberate Deir Ezzor started right after the SAA and its allies broke the ISIS siege on the city on September 5 and the ISIS siege on Deir Ezzor Airport on September 10. The military operation was first assigned to the SAA’s Republican Guard supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces.
On September 21, the Republican Guard crossed the Euphrates River and captured a foothold on the strategic Saqr island southeast of Deir Ezzor city under the command of General Issam Zahreddine.
However, due to ISIS attack on the al-Sukhnah–Deir Ezzor highway on Septmber 29, the SAA operations in Saqr island slowed down, and the focus was shifted towards the strategic al-Mayadin city in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
The SAA advanced on al-Mayadin in order to draw the ISIS attention from the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway and to destroy one of the key ISIS bases on the western bank of the Euphrates.
The Tiger Forces and their allies liberated the ISIS de-facto capital in Syria, Mayadin, on October 14. According to pro-government sources, about 180 ISIS members were killed during this operation.
Government forces seized a large number of weapons and equipment inside the city and delivered a devastating blow to ISIS in eastern Syria. Al-Bukamal became the last ISIS stronghold near the Iraqi border.
On October 17, the SAA and the Russian Aerospace Forces renewed their attacks on Saqr Island. However, the operation faced another major setback when General Issam Zahreddine was killed in action on October 18. General Zahreddine was the leader of Deir Ezzor defenders over the recent years and an expirienced commander of the Republican Guard.
More about the Republican Guard and General Zahreddine (produced on March 4, 2017):
Then, the Syrian General Command ordered the Tiger Forces to re-deploy from al-Maydin to Deir Ezzor in order to reinforce Republican Guard units there, and boost the attack on Saqr Island.
The Tiger Forces started their operation with an advance on the ISIS-held Industrial Area in the eastern part of Deir Ezzor city. The Industrial area was captured by the Tiger Forces on October 25 and Saqr Island was effectively cut off from ISIS-held neighborhoods in the rest of the city.
The Tiger Forces advance paid off quickly and government successfully captured Saqr Island on October 26 and started clashing with ISIS inside the city itself.
By October 28, SAA and the Tiger Forces captured al-Umal area (workers 1 and workers 2) and al-Eirfi neighborhood in the center of Deir Ezzor city. And on October 31, the SAA liberated the neighborhoods of Kanamat, Khassarat, Badr and Old Airport from ISIS also in the center of the city.
The SAA and the Tiger Forces maintained their rapid advance, and on November 1 they captured Jubaliyah neighborhood, the central park area, the school of law and education and the southern part of Hamidiyah district in the city of Deir Ezzor.
On November 2, the SAA and the Tiger Forces successfully captured the strategic al-Hamidiyah neighborhood from ISIS. The Tiger Forces went on and captured al-Baajen, al-Abed, al-shiekh Yaseen and parts of al-Rashdiea and Al-‘Ardhi neighborhoods in the same day.
Thus, over 90% of Deir Ezzor city was liberated by the SAA and Tiger Forces, while ISIS maintained its presence only in al-Uthmaniyah, al-Hawiqah and parts of al-‘Ardhi and al-Rashdiea and al-Jaradiq neighborhoods along the west bank of the Euphrates river.
On November 3, the ISIS defense fully collapsed in the northern part of the city and goovernetn forces liberated Uthaniyah and al-Hawiqah as well as the nearby points. The Syrian Defense Ministry declared the liberation of the city.
The military operation to liberate Deir Ezzor city confirmed that the Tiger Forces are one of the best forces in Syria when it comes to urban warfare. Previously the Tiger Forces successfully participated in the operation to liberate Aleppo city, another key battle of the Syrian war.
More about the Tiger Forces (produced on February 14, 2017):