The advancing regime forces do not unite with the forces besieged in Brigade 137 and ISIS carries out counter attacks preventing their union

The SOHR learned that the regime forces and their allied militiamen, of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, advancing from the western dessert of Deir Ezzor could not unite until now with the forces besieged in Brigade 137 located at the outskirts of Deir Ezzor city. The SOHR observed that the regime forces continue their mine clearance operations to remove the landmines planted by ISIS in the vicinity of the Brigade. Meanwhile, ISIS are executing violent counter attacks on the areas into which the regime forces advanced near Brigade 137. However, ISIS did not make any progress and thus could not force the regime forces to retreat. It is expected though that the advancing forces and those besieged would unite during the coming hours. If so, this would be the first time to break the siege imposed on the regime-controlled areas in Deir Ezzor city.

The SOHR published yesterday that warplanes carried out dozens of raids on areas controlled by ISIS in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor city. Meanwhilem the advancing regime forces continue to dismantle and remove mines to secure both themselves and the forces besieged in Brigade 137, which has been besieged for more than 32 months by ISIS. In addition, clashes continue between the advanced and the besieged regime forces on one hand, and ISIS members on the other, in the vicinity of the Brigade. On the other hand, Deir Ezzor Military Airport is witnessing shelling by the regime forces who are targeting the organization in Jabal al-Thardah and in the vicinity of the airport, after they managed to advance and to be only about 12 kilometers away from the walls of Deir Ezzor Military Airport.

If the regime forces managed to unite, they would take the first step in lifting the siege imposed on tens of thousands of citizens in areas controlled by the regime forces in the city. They would also help the citizens to move through a road that would take them to the regime, SDF and factions – controlled areas. A large number of families who come from other areas have been besieged in the city since the beginning of January 2015. Lifting the siege would also help deliver food, medical supplies and life necessities to the regime-controlled areas in the city. The SOHR also published yesterday that sounds of violent explosions were still being heard in the vicinity of Brigade 137 at the outskirts of Deir Ezzor city. Explosions were caused by heavy shelling by the regime forces and warplanes on ISIS positions in the vicinity of the besieged Brigade. The SOHR learned that hundreds of meters separate the regime forces advancing from the western desert of Deir Ezzor and the regime forces inside Brigade 137, which has been besieged by ISIS for 32 months. Demining operations are still underway in the area separating them, as such mines hinder their union, which should have happened by now, following the heavy shelling on ISIS positions in the said area. The SOHR monitored how desperate ISIS fighters were to stop the union of these two forces by means of at least 8 car bombs, violent clashes and suicide bombers using explosive belts. Reliable sources asserted that the members of ISIS who were not killed in this front, withdrew from the area. The SOHR published had also published earlier that the outskirts and surroundings of Deir Ezzor city are witnessing violent clashes between the regime forces backed by their allied militiamen of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities on one hand and ISIS members on the other. The SOHR monitored the advancement of the regime forces and their seizure of control over the towns of Kabajeb and al-Shoula located on the main road connecting al-Sukhnah and Deir Ezzor cities. Such an advancement got them closer to Deir Ezzor Military Airposrt which is also besieged by ISIS. The regime forces have become less than 12 km away from the walls of the Airport, which has been besieged since January 2017, as a result of a violent attack by ISIS, in which it managed to impose full siege on the airport and the nearby neighborhoods of Harabesh and al-Tahtouh. The SOHR learned that the Russian warplanes continue carrying out raids targeting ISIS-controlled areas and positions in the vicinity of and at the outskirts of the city. Such an advancement also coincides with violent clashes taking place between the regime forces and their allied militiamen on one hand and members of ISIS on the other in the vicinity of Brigade 137 besieged by ISIS. Specifically, clashes are taking place between the advanced and the besieged regime forces on one hand and ISIS on the other, in an attempt by the advancing regime forces to advance more and unite with their besieged forces, taking the first step towards lifting the siege on the regime-controlled areas in the city of Deir Ezzor. Reliable sources asserted to the SOHR that ISIS blew up 8 booby-trapped cars in an attempt to prevent the advancement of the regime forces and to stop them from uniting with the regime forces advancing from the western dessert of Deir Ezzor.

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