On September 5, the provincial capital finally saw the terrorist siege broken, which brought relief for up to 125,000 inhabitants, trapped by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants. Largely left without functioning infrastructure, locals struggled to survive for nearly three years, mostly relying on aid airdropped by the UN, Russia, and the Syrian government.
With the land route opening, convoys with food and medical supplies have started to flow freely to exhausted citizens, ready to reclaim their lives after years of constant danger, hardships, and hunger.
“We spent [the time under siege] like slaves,” grocer Abu Mohammad says, according to Syrian news agency SANA. “Hunger killed some of us, both young and old, and it almost killed us but then the Syrian Arab Army’s vanguards arrived and brought us salvation and victory. ISIS terrorists used to target homes, shops, and even fields, preventing food from reaching the neighborhood and seizing all of it, leaving the locals to fall prey to hunger and disease.”
While the drone hovered over Deir ez-Zor, showing the locals walking freely on the streets, Syrian Army units kept advancing further along the Euphrates River and striking the remaining pockets of IS resistance. On Friday, the troops recaptured the Al-Baghiliyah district, lying northeast of Deir ez-Zor.