DAMASCUS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army advanced against the Islamic State (IS) group in the key city of Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria, reported the state news agency SANA on Thursday.
SANA added that the successful headway was achieved following incessant battles with the IS, supported by Kurdish-led rebels.
Syrian forces and allied fighters captured the strategic Shuaib hilltop in the graveyard area of Deir al-Zour's eastern countryside following the battles, killing scores of terrorist militants, according to SANA.
Capturing Shuaib is a significant achievement towards breaking the IS's siege on Deir al-Zour's airbase in addition to the city's eastern part.
About 1,300 families suffered from a 40-day-long siege after the IS cut the connecting road between the city's eastern part from the rest of city's neighborhoods.
Furthermore, a military source informed Xinhua on condition of anonymity, that both Syrian and Russian air forces renewed their airstrikes against IS posts in the graveyard area and two nearby military bases, along with artillery shelling of IS militants in the area.
Last month, the IS launched a major offensive against government-controlled areas in Deir al-Zour, and advanced into the graveyard area and besieged the Deir al-Zour airport, the only lifeline into the city through which food and other necessities enter Deir al-Zour.
The IS control large swathes of Deir al-Zour's countryside, and recently attempted to storm besieged government-controlled areas in the city.
Deir al-Zour is important to the IS as it is an oil-rich area close to Iraqi borders.
Noteworthy, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) rebels also announced a battle against the IS in the city's countryside.
According to the Saudi-funded Alarabiya TV, the SDF are believed to have entered Deir al-Zour for the first time on Tuesday in order to fight the IS.
There was no immediate explanation for the sudden attack against IS posts in the oil-rich Deir al-Zour, however emerging reports said that the SDF succeeded in taking control of the Fatasheh, Master and Kassar villages, located within Dier al-Zour's administrative borders.
A Kurdish source told Alarabiya TV that the SDF entered Deir al-Zour via a U.S.-supported operation.
For months, SDF fighters have advanced against the IS in the countryside of the northern province of al-Raqqa, the IS's de facto capital city.
The objective behind advancing into al-Raqqa's countryside was isolating both al-Raqqa from Deir al-Zour as well as the city of al-Raqqa from its countryside in order to weaken the IS.
The SDF are benefiting from the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition's support throughout their battles against the IS in northern Syria.