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Syrian forces regain control of key Deir al-Zor highway

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By Mark Armstrong
Syrian forces regain control of key Deir al-Zor highway

Syrian government forces say they seized control on Sunday of a final stretch of the highway linking the eastern city of Deir al-Zor to the capital Damascus.

The development, which was reported by a Hezbollah run media unit, represents a further advance against ISIL.

Video from the unit shows the Syrian army attacking ISIL positions on the outskirts of Deir al-Zor, with tanks advancing on the city’s air base. The airport has been beseiged by ISIL militants for much of this year and the UN estimates that some 93,000 people have been living in extremely difficult conditions in parts of the city that have been under siege for three years.

YPG-led units fighting ISIL to the north of Deir al-Zor said on Sunday that they have liberated hundreds of civilians including many women and children. The ethnically Kurdish YPG form part of the SDF – Syrian Democratic Forces backed backed by the US military. Video uploaded to social media by the YPG appeared to show a group of civilians looking happy at being free of ISIL fighters.