Syria’s government army has penetrated the defense lines held by terrorists militants of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) to have unblocked the city of Deir ez-Zor, which remained besieged for about three years, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

Earlier, Russia’s Aerospace Force and cruise missiles launched from the frigate The Admiral Essen dealt a massive strike against the main strongholds, manpower and materiel of the Islamic State near Deir ez-Zor. The Russian Defense Ministry said a number of major strongholds, vast networks of underground tunnels, artillery positions and shelters for manpower and ammunition were wiped out.

“Using the results of the Russian air and missile strikes Syria’s government forces under General Suheil Hassan mounted a fast offensive to have penetrated the Islamic State’s defenses and unblocked Deir ez-Zor, the report runs.

“The terrorists tried to stop the advancing Syrian troops using suicide bombers and armored vehicles loaded with explosives. The assault groups of Syria’s government army destroyed more than 50 jihadi armored pickups of the terrorist forces,” the Defense Ministry said.

Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Deir ez-Zor was the main strategic point on the Euphrates. An end to its blockade would largely herald completion of the struggle against terrorists in Syria. The chief of the main operations department of Russia’s General Staff, Sergey Rudskoy, said termination of the city’s blockade would signify the defeat of “one of the strongest groups of the Islamic State in Syria’s territory.” Rudskoy said Deir ez-Zor was the place where the terrorists were pulling back the remaining forces. Militants from Mosul and a large share of the most combat-ready groups of terrorists from Raqqa have moved there.

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