Syrian troops, reinforced with new units and backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces, have managed to stop a large-scale offensive of terrorists of the Islamic State group in Deir ez-Zor.
Reinforcements, dispatched by air, and airstrikes of the Russian Aerospace Forces have helped Syrian troops to stop a large-scale offensive of terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group on a military airfield and a base of the 137th Brigade in Deir ez-Zor, the Izvestiya newspaper reported on Tuesday.
On Monday, it became known that over the weekend formations of the terrorist group suffered heavy losses and were forced to take on the defensive. However, the situation still remains extremely difficult, as besieged troops do not have enough forces to restore a corridor, connecting two parts of the enclave.
The reinforcements, sent to Deir ez-Zor last week, allowed the government forces to stop the IS offensive. Even suicide bombers, who tried to break through the army positions under the cover of a sandstorm, could not help terrorists. Support of the Russian air power, whose aircraft carried out several dozens of sorties per day, also played an important role in this situation.
According to local media, on some days of the last week, the number of aerial raids of the Russian Aerospace Forces on terrorists reached 50 airstrikes per day and more. Reportedly, not only front-line aviation, but also the Tu-22M3 long-range bombers were used during the aerial raids.
As the Russian Defense Ministry reported, on January 30, six Tu-22M3 bombers took off from an airfield, located in Russia, flew over the territory of Iraq and Iran and attacked positions of the IS in Deir ez-Zor province. The aircraft managed to destroy two command points, warehouses with weapons and ammunition, as well as a large number of IS fighters and their military hardware.
According to a plan of the Syrian Command, these airstrikes should prevent terrorists, who still hope to resume attacks on positions of the government forces, from regrouping. As social networks’ activists reported, government troops in Deir ez-Zor fight against not ordinary IS fighters, but against choicest units of fanatics, consisting mainly of foreigners, who are used only for the most important operations, such as surprise raids and breaking through an enemy’s front. Reportedly, these units managed to recapture Palmyra in December of the last year.
It is believed that foreign terrorists were dispatched to Deir ez-Zor from Mosul, when IS leaders understood that their self-proclaimed capital in Iraq is doomed. Capture of Deir ez-Zor and its rich oil fields would allow terrorists to retain its influence in large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Command tries to accumulate enough forces for an offensive of government troops that would allow to restore integrity of the enclave. For this reason, reinforcements continue to be sent to Deir ez-Zor. Now, mainly helicopters, which are based at an airport in Qamishli, are used for this purpose. In addition, transport planes regularly drop containers with foodstuffs and medicine to defending units.
As an advisor to the Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Elena Suponina, told Izvestiya, it is still very far until the final victory over terrorists.
“The war will drag on and result in new attacks and terrorist acts outside Syria,” Suponina said.