Government forces seized a final stretch of highway linking the eastern city of Deir al-Zor to the capital Damascus, as the Syrian army together with its Shi’ite allies and Russian air support continues to make significant advances against the Islamic State. Troops moving in from the west of Syria linked-up with forces already in Deir al-Zor at the Panorama entrance to the city, bringing the whole road under their control for the first time in since 2014. Syria’s army commander declared upon arriving at the entrance to the city, “Congratulations to every honest man who stood by us and supported us in this war. Congratulations to all troops in Deir al-Zor. The wedding has begun in the pearl of Euphrates and the signs of victory began on September 5 when we were at the victory gate.”
Russia, which backed the Syrian ground forces with air support and was a key factor in the rapid advance, announced it would send 175 de-mining engineers to defuse the territory from mines that the Islamic State has planted in the area. Russia’s defense ministry further noted that the first detachment of 40 de-miners has already been deployed to Russia’s Hmeimim air base in the war-torn-country.