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Syrian militants race army for control of Deir al-Zor

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By Euronews
Syrian militants race army for control of Deir al-Zor

<p>US-backed fighters in eastern Syria have announced a new offensive against the so-called Islamic State.</p> <p>The operation brings the Syrian Democratic Forces (<span class="caps">SDF</span>) into a race with government troops who are marching in the same direction. </p> <p>The Syrian army has already recaptured an air base on the outskirts of Deir al-Zor – a city that has been besieged by the jihadists since 2015.</p> <p>Which side reaches the Iraq border first will determine whether the US or Russia and Iran control the oil-rich strategic area after the defeat of <span class="caps">ISIL</span>.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">SDF</span> said it did not expect clashes with Syrian government forces, but would respond if fired upon.</p>