Besieged Syrian city of Deir Ezzour suffers multi-day attack

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The city of Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria has suffered a multi-day attack with Islamic State (IS) militants launching an offensive on Saturday.

The hotly contested city, located near the border of Iraq, lies on a crucial supply route for Raqqa, an IS stronghold, and is also oil rich and possesses a valuable airbase. Conflict has surrounded the city for two years, with IS fighters besieging about 200,000 Syrians. In recent weeks, conditions have deteriorated further. As it stands, IS forces reportedly control the majority of the city and are seeking to capture it all.

On Tuesday morning a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) spokesperson said the IS lost 200 fighters over three days of assault. The Syrian Arab Army is a branch of Syrian Government military forces.

During the offensive, IS fighters took a hospital west of Deir Ezzour on Saturday. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said, "IS attacked Al-Assad hospital at the city's western entrance, killing at least 20 soldiers and allied fighters."

File photo of square in Deir Ezzour, 2005.
Image: Heretiq.

The hospital was under IS control for several hours before Syrian Government forces reclaimed it, according to SOHR. Reports through the BBC said more than 20 IS fighters were killed, while activists said medical staff were seized as hostages and IS fighters also killed 35 pro-government fighters.

The UN has been providing food and medicine to the besieged by airdrop, The Washington Post reports. The Russian Defence Ministry said they airdropped 38.5 tonnes of aid to the besieged city.

Local reports claim civilians in outlying towns in the Deir Ezzour Governate suffered casualties on Monday as a result of US Coalition air-raids in Bukumal while IS shells killed a child and injured fourteen others in al-Qusour and al-Joura.

This year is the fifth year of the Syrian conflict which has seen over three million refugees flee Syria and 6.5 million displaced within the Middle-Eastern country as a result of violent clashes from several different Government, rebel and militant groups.