UPDATE # 3
-Deir ez Zor, Syria and Iraq:
- The Iraqi military announced on 27 August that it had ousted the Islamic State from Tal Afar in Ninawa province following a rapid eight-day offensive and it declared the whole of Ninawa liberated following the recapture of the nearby town of Ayadiya on 31 August.
- Amid an ongoing US-backed militant offensive targeting the group's de facto capital Raqqa in Syria, the capture of Islamic State territory in Homs governorate by pro-government forces in August is likely to be followed by a government offensive targeting the group's last remaining stronghold in neighbouring Deir al-Zour governorate.
- Although these losses are significant, it remains unclear whether the Iraqi army will be able to hold the territory it has recaptured, while a Syrian government offensive into Deir al-Zour could trigger a confrontation with the US-backed Qiwaat Suriyya al-Dimoqratiyya, or Syrian Democratic Forces, which is expected to mount its own offensive into the governorate once Raqqa is liberated.
-Via the BBC! - check back for updates
|Syria says army has broken siege of Deir al-Zour, encircled by so-called Islamic State for nearly three years|
Syrian state TV and an opposition activist group say government forces and their allies have reached the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, breaching the nearly 3-year Islamic State group siege on government-held areas.
The TV said troops advancing from the west on Tuesday reached the western outskirts of the city that has been contested since January 2015.
Breaking the siege on Deir el-Zour marks another victory for President Bashar Assad, whose forces have been advancing on several fronts against IS and insurgent groups over the past year.
Rami Abdurrahman who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said advancing troops and those defending the city have met.
Syrian state TV said the siege was broken adding that IS defenses "have collapsed."
Brigadier General Ghassan Saeed, is reported to have been killed on Sunday near the city of Deir Ez-Zor.
Two Russian soldiers were killed by artillery fire from ISIL in Syria's eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where the army is battling jihadists, Russia's defence ministry said.Original News
One serviceman was killed instantly and a second died from his wounds in hospital, according to a ministry statement quoted by Russian news agencies on Monday.
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Russia's Defense Ministry says a warship in the Mediterranean has fired cruise missiles toward targets of the Islamic State group in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour.
The ministry said the missiles were fired from a frigate on Tuesday.
Moscow is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has fired such missiles in the past from the sea and mainland Russia.
Russia Today TV said a salvo of Kalibr cruise missiles targeted a group of militants stationed near the city of Deir el-Zour where government forces have been trying to reach the area under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Syrian government forces have been trying to reach a handful of neighborhoods and a nearby airport that are besieged by IS.
Syrian opposition activists say government forces are pushing forward to end a nearly three-year siege by the Islamic State group on parts of the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.
Syrian troops and allied militiamen have for months been advancing toward Deir el-Zour, the provincial capital of the oil-rich province of the same name. Government forces are besieged in a handful of neighborhoods and a nearby airport.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces are dismantling mines around a besieged government-held air base known as Brigade 137. The Observatory added that IS fighters are launching counterattacks in the area.
The DeirEzzor 24, an activist group that has reporters throughout the eastern province, reported heavy clashes near the village of Jabra that is adjacent to the besieged area.
The Russian defense ministry says two Russian troops have been killed in shelling in Syria's east.
The ministry's statement quoted by Russian news agencies late on Monday said the two men died when a convoy escorting Russian cease-fire monitoring staff came under mortar fire outside the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.
The ministry said one man died on the spot and the other died later of wounds in a hospital.
Russia has been providing air cover for Syrian President Bashar Assad's offensive against Islamic State group militants since 2015. The Russian defense ministry said Monday that Russian jets had made 80 flights to back Assad's offensive on Deir el-Zour, a key city that has been under IS siege for three years.