Aid Convoy Enters Deir Ezzor
A convoy carrying 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid arrived in Deir Ezzor on Thursday after Syrian troops secured a land corridor to the eastern city, the Associated Press reported.
A convoy of 40 trucks reached a garrison on the southwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzor, carrying food and medical supplies as well as school books and stationery.
“No more hunger after today,” the governor of Deir Ezzor told Syrian state TV.
The aid delivery comes only two days after Syrian troops and allied fighters breached a three-year-long Islamic State siege of parts of the city.
Pro-government forces are advancing toward a military airbase that is still under siege by the militant group. According to Reuters, only a few hundred meters of militant-held ground separate the advancing forces from the besieged enclave.
Citing the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Reuters said ISIS launched mortar shells on neighborhoods around the airbase on Thursday, killing at least seven civilians and wounding dozens more.
ISIS Leaders Perish in Airstrikes on Deir Ezzor
Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday that it had killed four senior figures of the so-called Islamic State in an airstrike near Deir Ezzor, the AP reported.
Abu Muhammad al-Shimali, who was reported to have “headed the movement of foreign fighters into Syria and processed the group’s new recruits,” was among those killed.
Gulmurod Khalimov, another senior ISIS figure, was also among the 40 ISIS militants who died in the airstrike.
According to RT, the attack took place on Tuesday and targeted a meeting of ISIS field commanders in an underground command center.
On Thursday, the United States-led coalition said its airstrikes on Sept. 4 had killed two senior ISIS leaders near the town of Mayadin in Deir Ezzor province, the Long War Journal reported.
The strike killed Abu Anas al-Shami who was described by U.S. Central Command as “an ISIS weapons research leader” who had oversight of the group’s “attempts to procure explosives and devised plans to use bombs for external terror attacks.”
Junaid ur Rehman, “a senior ISIS drone pilot trainer and engineer,” who “was working to increase ISIS’s ability to weaponize drones and to conduct aerial surveillance on the battlefield and plot attacks throughout the world,” was also killed by coalition air raids this week.
The targeted attacks come as Syrian troops and allied forces are fighting ISIS on the ground in Deir Ezzor with the aim of driving the jihadist group from one of its last strongholds in Syria.
Israel Issues Warning to Syria, Iran After Airstrike
Israel’s defense minister issued a warning to Tehran and Damascus on Thursday only hours after Syria accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike on its territory, the Guardian reported.
“We are determined to prevent our enemies harming, or even creating an opportunity to harm, the security of Israeli citizens,” Avigdor Lieberman said. “We shall do everything in order not to allow the existence of a Shiite corridor from Tehran to Damascus.”
Earlier on Thursday, Israeli airstrikes purportedly targeted a military base where surface-to-surface missiles are being stored, plus a nearby scientific research center in the town of Masyaf in Hama province. The research facility is believed to be a Syrian chemical weapons manufacturer.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Syrian foreign ministry filed a complaint to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, urging it to denounce the strike.
- The Atlantic: Why Israel Is Worried About Syria
- The Wall Street Journal: In Syria, New Conflict Looms as ISIS Loses Ground
- Reuters: Some Syrian Schools Erase Assad but Tensions Rise Over Kurdish
- The New York Times: Airstrikes on Syrian Military Sites Renew Focus on Chemical Weapons
- USA Today: ISIS Losses in Syria Bolster Assad’s Ability to Reclaim Control