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BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:45 P.M.) – The month of September has started off well for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and other forces aligned to it in the war against the Islamic State terrorist group.
Today, the Syrian Army officially lifted the siege on pro-government forces and civilians inside the strategic city of Deir Ezzor after three years of them being isolated far behind ISIS lines.
The Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces and the 17th Reserve Division advanced along a strategic back-road running south from Resafa (in the Tabaqa region) to reach the 137th Brigade Base on the western outskirts of the city.
At least one or two ISIS counter-offensives aimed at reimposing the siege can be expected and may, possibly, temporarily succeed. Any chances of re-besieging the city for an extended period of time is highly unlikely.
Despite reports yesterday and this morning that the town of Ash-Shula (about thirty kilometers west of Deir Ezzor city) was liberated, the reality stands that the town has still not been entered into by pro-government forces (even the latest Hezbollah map shows this). In any case, the Syrian Army units advancing along the M20 highway are at the western outskirts of the town and the Tiger Forces are close to it from the north.
Finally, it can be clarified (as this map shows) that all ISIS gains in southeast Raqqa Governorate were reversed by the Syrian Army who have re-secured key settlements like Ghanim al-Ali and Abu Hammad. Pro-government forces currently stand just a few villages short of the strategic Euphrates-based town of Ma’adan.
The rumor that ISIS retook Ghanim al-Ali for a second time in one week and pushed government forces north along the Euphrates all the way beyond Subkha village was started by a pro-ISIS social media account that poses as being pro-Iraqi Ba’athist.