Photo
Deir al-Zour in Syria after an airstrike by government forces on Tuesday. They have now recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, according to state-runs news outlets. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Syrian government forces, aided by Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias, have ousted Islamic State fighters from their last foothold in a major city, state-run television reported on Friday.

The pro-government alliance has driven the militants from the last few neighborhoods they held in the eastern provincial capital of Deir al-Zour, state-run news outlets said.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had at one point surrounded the government-held section of the city, besieging 200,000 civilians who live there. The United Nations was occasionally able to deliver food aid via airplane.

The government’s announcement of victory came just weeks after an American-backed, Kurdish-led militia force took over the city of Raqqa, about 90 miles from Deir al-Zour. Raqqa had served as a de facto capital for the Islamic State.

The group has lost the vast majority of its self-declared caliphate, which at its height controlled large portions of Syria and Iraq.It still holds the border town of Bukamal, Syria, a strategic point because it sits on the highway from Damascus to Baghdad.

Continue reading the main story

All the players in the multilayered war covet influence there, and several forces are converging: the alliance that supports the Syrian government; the rival American-backed group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces; and Iraqi forces, who are pursuing Islamic State holdouts on their side of the border.

The stakes are high. The area could be a flash point for escalation, as both the Syrian Democratic Forces and the pro-government alliance — backed respectively by American and Russian warplanes — advance against the Islamic State’s remaining pockets in the province, also called Deir al-Zour. Russia, which wants to see the Syrian government take back all of its territory, and the United States, which wants to counter Iranian influence, have accused each another of firing at their respective allies on the ground.

Iran wants friendly forces to control the area to establish a land route linking Iran and Lebanon, the base of its most powerful allied militia in the region, Hezbollah.

And the Syrian Defense Forces, a Kurdish and Arab alliance, wants to seize as much territory as possible, including oil fields, to increase its chances of staving off a government takeover of the areas it holds, including Raqqa and the areas to the northeast where Kurds have carved out a measure of autonomy.

Adding to the complications, the Iraqis are allied with both of the rival coalitions in Syria. Iraqi forces are aided by Iranian-backed militias and by American forces.

Continue reading the main story

Syrian government forces, aided by Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias, have ousted Islamic State fighters from their last foothold in a major city, state-run television reported on Friday.

The pro-government alliance has driven the militants from the last few neighborhoods they held in the eastern provincial capital of Deir al-Zour, state-run news outlets said.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had at one point surrounded the government-held section of the city, besieging 200,000 civilians who live there. The United Nations was occasionally able to deliver food aid via airplane.

The government’s announcement of victory came just weeks after an American-backed, Kurdish-led militia force took over the city of Raqqa, about 90 miles from Deir al-Zour. Raqqa had served as a de facto capital for the Islamic State.

The group has lost the vast majority of its self-declared caliphate, which at its height controlled large portions of Syria and Iraq.It still holds the border town of Bukamal, Syria, a strategic point because it sits on the highway from Damascus to Baghdad.

All the players in the multilayered war covet influence there, and several forces are converging: the alliance that supports the Syrian government; the rival American-backed group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces; and Iraqi forces, who are pursuing Islamic State holdouts on their side of the border.

The stakes are high. The area could be a flash point for escalation, as both the Syrian Democratic Forces and the pro-government alliance — backed respectively by American and Russian warplanes — advance against the Islamic State’s remaining pockets in the province, also called Deir al-Zour. Russia, which wants to see the Syrian government take back all of its territory, and the United States, which wants to counter Iranian influence, have accused each another of firing at their respective allies on the ground.

Iran wants friendly forces to control the area to establish a land route linking Iran and Lebanon, the base of its most powerful allied militia in the region, Hezbollah.

And the Syrian Defense Forces, a Kurdish and Arab alliance, wants to seize as much territory as possible, including oil fields, to increase its chances of staving off a government takeover of the areas it holds, including Raqqa and the areas to the northeast where Kurds have carved out a measure of autonomy.

Adding to the complications, the Iraqis are allied with both of the rival coalitions in Syria. Iraqi forces are aided by Iranian-backed militias and by American forces.

Nytimes

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here