A RIA Novosti correspondent tells about the launch of the Syrian army’s offensive against Daesh controlled territories of Deir ez-Zor he witnessed.
Deir ez-Zor defense units and the recently arrived Syrian army reinforcements have launched an offensive against Daesh controlled territories of the city, which lies on the Euphrates River.
A RIA Novosti correspondent witnessed the launch of the offensive near the airport in the northern part of the city and learned about an important operation not far from an air base in eastern Deir ez-Zor.
The offensive began at 06:00 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT), as stipulated by the operation’s headquarters the other day. Units of the country’s army, military reconnaissance and the 17th Division started fulfilling their task.
The offensive began with an artillery barrage that caused a man-made earthquake along a road that wound past a cemetery, which had marble headstones stretching for several kilometers. The sun was still hovering low above the horizon, and the air remained cool, which meant that people did not have to wipe the salty sweat from their eyebrows. Nevertheless, the thermometer inside the vehicle showed that it was already much warmer than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Less than seven days ago, the cemetery was considered the most dangerous part in Deir ez-Zor. Terrorists and the city’s defenders took turns attacking each other as they tried to gauge their respective strengths. The siege which which had been laid upon the city for three years was lifted on September 5, with the balance of power tipping in the Syrian army’s favor. Truck convoys delivered ammunition, which remains in short supply, with reinforcements punching holes through the Daesh positions and entering the city from the south and the west. But the city’s liberation remains a difficult task.
Terrorists had besieged the local airport for nine months, and it took Syrian military commanders less than two days to prepare for the operation and ultimately lift the siege.
Government forces were deployed near the city cemetery and moved toward the airport to help their comrades there.
The cemetery covers several square kilometers on the city’s outskirts. In the past three years, soldiers built lines of defense here and dug trenches while trying not to damage the graves.