After Crushing ISIS in Central Syria, Army Moves to Deir Ezzor City

Footage shows Syrian Army tanks nearing gates of Deir ez-Zor

The Syrian government army and allying forces have freed nine settlements located in the country's western Hama province from Daesh (banned in Russia) terrorists, a Syrian military source told Sputnik Friday.

The long-standing Syrian military offensive east into the ISIS-held Deir Ezzor Province has gained a new sense of urgency after defenses within their portion of the city of Deir Ezzor have begun to crumble in the face of an ISIS advance.

The news comes after the reports that the Syrian Army managed to encircle a large group of Daesh militants in the town of Akerbat in eastern Hama.

"The siege on the government troops will be broken within hours", he added.

Hezbollah said there were old people, casualties, and pregnant women in the remaining six buses stranded outside Syrian government control in the desert and called on the worldwide community to step in to prevent them coming to harm.

The siege tightened further earlier this year, when IS advanced and cut the government-held parts of the city in two, with a southern section by the key military airport now divided from a northern sector. The Syrian Army is expected to attack the city from several directions.

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The government has brought supplies in by helicopter, and the United Nations has periodically airdropped humanitarian aid, but the situation remains hard for those under siege.

Meanwhile, ISIL fighters and their families evacuated from the Lebanon-Syria border and headed towards Deir Az Zor remain stranded short of their destination, the US-led anti-ISIL coalition said.

"Soldiers arriving from outside and the soldiers besieged inside are fighting IS, but they haven't withdrawn yet", said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

It has moved quickly towards the city, seeking to head off potential rival advances by US-backed fighters including the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces alliance which is conducting a separate battle to oust IS from the city of Raqa.

The civil war between the Syrian government forces and various opposition and terror groups has been raging since 2011.

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