Syrian army liberates Deir al-Zour city, ISIS' last stronghold
The Syrian army has "completely liberated" the city of Deir al-Zour from ISIS, according to state TV. However, other reports said Syrian army and its allies are still clearing the last pockets of ISIS resistance in the city. ISIS has been controlling the city since 2014. Deir al-Zour, ISIS' last major stronghold in Syria, is strategically important due to its proximity to the Iraqi border.
ISIS still controls some pockets of province
In September, the Syrian army and its allies had broken an ISIS siege in a large part of Deir al-Zour that had trapped nearly 93,000 civilians since 2015. ISIS still controls some pockets of the larger Deir al-Zour province. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Russian and Hezbollah-backed Syrian army are attempting to gain control of Albu Kamal, a crucial border crossing.
350,000 civilians displaced in fighting in larger Deir al-Zour province
Weeks of fighting in Deir al-Zour have forced an estimated 350,000 civilians in the province to flee their homes. The Syrian government's success now raises the possibility of clashes between them and the US-backed rebel forces which control much of northern Syria. Peace is far from certain. Meanwhile, on the other side of the frontier, Iraqi government forces are clamping down on ISIS,
Deir al-Zour the latest in a series of ISIS defeats
Deir al-Zour city is the latest in a series of defeats ISIS has suffered in recent months in Iraq and Syria. Last month, an alliance of Syrian fighters backed by the US evicted ISIS from its de-facto capital, Raqqa. In Iraq, government forces and their allies, including the US, have recaptured around 95% of the land ISIS once controlled