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The Latest: Syrian army breaks IS siege of key airport

September 09, 2017 - 9:44 AM

BEIRUT - The Latest on the developments in Syria's civil war (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Syrian state media says government forces have broken the Islamic State group's siege of the airport to the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, relieving government forces trapped inside and laying the ground for further gains against the militants.

SANA news agency reported the development Saturday. It said government forces had broken the siege on two Deir el-Zour neighbourhoods as well.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said pro-government forces opened an artery to the airport. It has been besieged by IS militants since early this year. Pro-government forces from other parts of the country reached Deir el-Zour, also under IS siege, for the first time since 2014 last week.

Civilians and security forces inside the city were supported during the siege by air drops from the U.N. and risky shipments via the airport.

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3 p.m.

A U.S.-backed Syrian force says it has launched military operations against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, heightening the possibility of conflict with rival, Russian-backed government forces, which are running their own operations in the same area.

The predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces announced Saturday its Deir el-Zour Military Council has launched operation "Jazeera Storm" to defeat IS militants in the resource-rich Deir el-Zour province.

Syrian government forces broke an IS siege against the provincial capital, also called Deir el-Zour, last week.

The SDF remain locked in battle with IS militants over the jihadists' de-facto capital city, Raqqa, in north Syria. The U.S. military is providing ground and air support.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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