SYRIAN and Russian forces dealt new defeats to Isis across the country yesterday in their push to lift the siege of Deir Ezzor.
Breaking through to the Isis-surrounded eastern city and the oil-rich province of the same name is seen as the key to defeating the death cult and ending the six-year war.
The Russian-trained Isis Hunters battalion of the Syrian army captured Huwaysis and surrounding countryside in the recently surrounded 45-mile-wide pocket northwest of Palmyra.
Overnight on Sunday, the Tiger Forces brigade continued their advance south of the River Euphrates, taking Taybeh just 12 miles north of Suknah and threatening to surround another huge Isis pocket.
According to unconfirmed reports yesterday, troops in Suknah had advanced six miles to the north to meet up with the Tiger Forces brigade.
Also on Sunday, troops in the remote desert south-east finally took the town of Humaymah, which lies on the road to Abu Kamal on the Iraqi border.
Troops pushed on yesterday towards the T2 oil pipeline pumping station and adjacent air base, the southern gateway to the Euphrates.
Russian commander in Syria Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi said that his air contingent was flying 60-70 raids a day against Isis forces besieging Deir Ezzor.
Earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry said jets had annihilated a large Isis convoy heading east to join the terrorist group’s last-ditch attempt to conquer the city.
In the eastern suburbs of the capital, a ceasefire with the Western-backed Faylaq al-Rahman group broke down after Sunday’s shelling of the Damascus International Fair, which killed four civilians.
A statement from the group accused the government of staging the attack to wreck the Russian-brokered ceasefire.