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Deir Ezzor: airstrikes kill 40 people as regime sends reinforcements

Local | 2017-09-11 21:16:25
Deir Ezzor: airstrikes kill 40 people as regime sends reinforcements
(Zaman Al Wasl)- At least 40 people killed  in Russian and Syrian airstrikes when they were fleeing the violence in Deir Ezzor aboard ferries along the Euphrates River, activists said on Monday.

The deadly strikes come as regime army sent massive reinforcements ahead of a final push for the Islamic State group-held half of the eastern city, according to AFP.

On Sunday, Russian air strikes killed 34 civilians fleeing the violence in Deir Ezzor aboard ferries along the Euphrates River, the Observatory said.

The long river cuts diagonally across Deir Ezzor province, slicing it in half.

Regime forces have scored major advances in recent days, breaking a pair of IS sieges on the city and capturing territory around it.

They were now looking to make a push into the eastern IS-held part of the city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.
The remaining 40 percent of the city still held by the government -- and home to around 100,000 civilians -- was under crippling IS siege.

Backed by Russian air power, government troops have breached IS's sieges, captured the strategic Jabal Thardah region and expanded their control to half of Deir Ezzor city, according to the Observatory.
Russia's defence ministry said Monday a demining unit comprising more than 40 experts and special equipment had been sent to Syria, adding that they will be sent to Deir Ezzor "in the nearest future".

Fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday announced a separate offensive to capture IS territory east of the river.

By Monday, the SDF's Deir Ezzor Military Council (DEMC) had seized much of the province's northeast and were just a few kilometres (miles) away from the river.

Abdel Rahman said they had advanced to six kilometres (four miles) from its eastern banks, at a point across the river from Deir Ezzor city.

The SDF, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, is also battling IS in the jihadists' de facto capital Raqa with backing from the US-led air coalition.

Although the SDF had yet to reach Deir Ezzor city itself, tribal figures affiliated with the alliance said they were laying the groundwork for governing the city after IS's defeat.

The statement, published by the SDF's media council, announced the establishment of "a preparatory committee that will discuss the basis and starting points for a civil council for Deir Ezzor".

Syria's conflict erupted in 2011 with protests calling for Assad's ouster, but it has since morphed into a complex war drawing in world powers.

More than 470,000 people have been killed and millions have been forced to flee their homes. (With AFP)

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