A militant fighter from the Islamic State radical group during clashes with Syrian regime forces in Deir ez-Zor. File photo
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HOMS – Subsequent to clashes with Syrian regime army forces, militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) were able Wednesday to control a key neighborhood in Syria’s eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.
Amaq agency reported that ISIS militants took control of the last positions of the Assad’s forces in the Sinaa neighborhood of Deir ez-Zor, after fierce battles.
Regime security posts in Sinaa fell to ISIS after the group killed more than 20 Syrian soldiers.
Speaking to ARA News in Deir ez-Zor, media activist Mujahid Rifaee confirmed that ISIS militants hang the corpses of the soldiers in a public square in the neighborhood [Sinaa], vowing civilians not to stand beside the regime’s forces, otherwise they would be slaughtered.
“They [ISIS militants] were filming the hanged corpses in order to boost their propaganda versions,” Refaee argued.
The hardline group was able to advance in the areas adjacent to the Sinaa neighborhood on the outskirts of at-Tahtouh neighborhood, killing one of the regime’s troops by a sniper shot.
ISIS has reportedly advanced towards the regime-held strategic airbase of Deir ez-Zor earlier this month, despite the US-led coalition’s airstrikes on the group’s fighting positions. Local activists confirmed that at least seven soldiers were killed during the clashes before ISIS insurgents seized control of several army posts in the vicinity of the Deir ez-Zor airbase.
Over the past four weeks, Russian air force intensified airstrikes on the international highway linking the cities of Palmyra, Deir ez-Zor and ISIS-held Raqqa in a bid to prevent ISIS from receiving additional reinforcements.
In March 2016, Syrian army forces began a major offensive with the support of the Russian warplanes and infantry to control the eastern areas of the international highway between Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor city.
Deir ez-Zor is a key city to the extremist group for it connects the group’s de facto capital Raqqa with Iraqi territory controlled by ISIS.
ISIS has been fighting for more than a year to seize the military airport and other regime-held districts in Syria’s oil-rich eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, according to military and local sources.
Reporting by: Haytham Mustafa
Source: ARA News