13 August، 2017
Russian Defense Ministry affirmed that the restoration of al-Sukhna city by the Syrian Arab Army paves the way for progress to lift the siege of Deir Ezzor.
In a statement on the restoration of al-Sukhna city, 70 km to the northeast of Tadmur (Palmyra), the Ministry said that Syrian army units, supported by the Russian air force, drove out ISIS terrorists from the eastern and western neighborhoods of al-Sukhna city and continued their advance to liberate its center and south, while the decisive phase of the liberation was establishing control over all the neighboring strategically important heights and completely blocking it several days ago.
Earlier on Sunday in an interview with the Russia 24 TV channel, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said de-blocking of Deir ez-Zor, which has been seized by ISIS for a few years, would be a milestone in fighting terrorism in Syria.
“This is probably the milestone on Euphrates, which will to a big extent say about finishing fighting ISIS,” he said.
He pointed out that Syrian army increased the size of the territory under its control by two and half times in just two months during its operations against terrorist organizations, adding that Russia’s efforts to separate the “opposition” and the terrorist organizations have allowed the Syrian army to send more concrete troops to the front lines.
“Today we say: ‘Send [the aid] to the de-escalation zones, everything is open there. If you cannot transport, we shall transport for you.’ But we cannot be both the mother and the father. Thus, of course, here should be support from humanitarian organizations, from the United Nations Organization,” he said, adding that Russia expects from international organizations assistance to civilians in Syria.
Joint work of Russia and international humanitarian organizations will favor stabilizing of the situation with refugees, he continued.
“Further on, refugees would return home, at first from inside Syria, what is happening already now, and then from other regions,” he added.