Syrian soldiers are seen in Deir ez-Zor. File photo
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QAMISHLI – Subsequent to one day of clashes with militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS), forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad regained control of several areas in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, officials said on Sunday.
“Our army forces recaptured the districts of Ayash and Begayliya in Deir ez-Zor city after fierce clashes with ISIS terrorists,” Ali Ibrahim, an officer in the Syrian army, told ARA News.
“We also recaptured the Saaqa military base in the western countryside of Deir ez-Zor. The campaign will continue until we liberate the whole province from ISIS,” Ibrahim said.
This comes just one day after ISIS militants stormed the regime-held neighborhoods in Deir ez-Zor and killed more than 150 people, including pro-regime soldiers and their families.
“At least 40 soldiers and 130 civilians were brutally killed by ISIS militants in Deir ez-Zor,” local media activist Ahmed Helwani told ARA News earlier on Saturday.
“The militants broke into the regime-held neighborhoods of Ayash and Begayliya, and attacked people in their homes,” Helwani said. “Their main target was the pro-regime soldiers and their families.”
Speaking to ARA News, a civil rights activist reported that ISIS militants first targeted Ayash and Begayliya with several car bomb attacks, before storming the two neighborhoods. “Dozens of women and children were brutally beheaded,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “ISIS is punishing families of pro-regime soldiers after the group lost the battle for Deir ez-Zor’s military airport.”
Also on Sunday, clashes broke out between pro-regime troops and ISIS fighters in the vicinity of Bighel village in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, where casualties were reported from both sides.
Most of the city of Deir ez-Zor and its countryside is under ISIS control. However, pro-regime army troops still hold control of several neighborhoods in the city beside a military airport in Deir ez-Zor suburb.
The province of Deir ez-Zor is deemed strategic for ISIS for it links the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa with Iraqi territory controlled by the radical group.
Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh
Source: ARA News