(AhlulBayt News Agency) - After breaking an ISIS blockade, Syria's army is seeking to encircle the remaining terrorist-held parts of Deir Ezzor city, a military source said Wednesday.
"The army is seeking to encircle ISIS from three sides by controlling the parts of the western bank of the Euphrates river," the source said.
Troops would target riverside territory on the city's northwestern edges as well as strategic areas on its southern outskirts, including the key military airport and the village of Al-Jafra, on the banks of the Euphrates.
The operation seeks to "oust ISIS from the city and the province completely," the military source said.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, also reported that "fierce fighting has been ongoing since yesterday as the army seeks to expel the terrorists and reach the western bank of the Euphrates."
If the army captures Al-Jafra, "Deir Ezzor will be encircled from three sides, so ISIS will have no way out except the Euphrates which is within firing range of Syrian artillery and Russian warplanes," he added.
In Damascus Wednesday, President Bashar al-Assad said the country was "advancing steadily towards victory thanks to the sacrifices of its army, the determination of its people and the support of its allies," state news agency SANA said.
Last week, Syria's army and allied fighters broke a years-long ISIS siege of Deir Ezzor, entering two sections of the city that had been cut off from each other.
Since then, the army has brought reinforcements to the city and is seeking to oust ISIS from eastern neighbourhoods that run along the Euphrates river, which slices diagonally through the province.