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Syrian regime fighters cross Euphrates

Syrian regime forces on Monday crossed the Euphrates near Deir Ezzor, and now control 75 percent of the city as the battle against Daesh continues, a UK-based war monitor said.

The river has formed a dividing line between Syrian regime forces — which are supported by Russian air power and Iranian militias — and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).


Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that Syrian regime forces crossed the river twice on Monday morning.

“In Deir Ezzor the regime is going forward … They are controlling some villages and towns on the west bank of the river,” he told Arab News.

The crossings and capture of a key island on the Euphrates are key to retaking all of Deir Ezzor, Abdulrahman said. “This is very important for the regime,” he said. “In Deir Ezzor city we see around 75 percent under the control of the regime … on the west of the river.”
Daesh is still in control of eastern districts along the river, reports said.

The SDF, which is advancing toward the Euphrates from the east, has said it would block regime forces from crossing from the west.
But there was no immediate sign of clashes in the area between the two sides, although Abdulrahman did not rule this out in the future.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday confirmed that elite Syrian troops had crossed the river.

“Today, Syrian government forces, reinforced by a unit of the 4th Armored Division and with the support of Russian aviation, crossed the Euphrates river in the Deir Ezzor region,” the ministry said in a statement, according to AFP.

It said “shock troops” had already captured several villages on the river’s eastern banks from Daesh and were pushing further east.
Pro-regime forces meanwhile announced that they had secured the airport in Deir Ezzor, allowing two military transport aircraft to land, AP reported.

Al-Manar TV, the media arm of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, quoted an unnamed general who said the airport is “90 percent secured.”

Source: arabnews

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