Syrian President Assad on Sept. 5 congratulated government troops for breaking three-year-long IS siege on Deir al-Zour city. (AFP Photo)
DAMASCUS, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday congratulated government troops who broke the three-year-long IS siege on Deir al-Zour city, according to the state TV.
The three-year-long siege has been lifted when the advancing Syrian army reached the besieged Brigade 137 military base in western Deir al-Zour, according to the state TV.
The Syrian flag was hoisted when the advancing troops met with the besieged forces in the base.
"Today you stood side-by-side with your comrades who came to your rescue and fought the hardest battles to break the siege on the city," Assad said in a call with the commanders of troops who had been besieged in a base in Deir al-Zour.
Syrian forces and allied fighters arrived on Tuesday at the Brigade 137 base on the western edge of Deir al-Zour, effectively ending a siege of about three years on part of the city.
The Syrian forces have been advancing from two directions to break the siege on Deir al-Zour where 93,000 civilians have been under siege since 2015.
The military forces have been advancing from the southern countryside of Raqqa, passing the Bishri mountain, which has been recently captured by the army.
The other attacking forces have been advancing from the city of al-Sukhnah in the desert in the eastern countryside of Homs province.
The first group coming from Bishri mountain is the one who broke the siege on the base and thus technically lifted the siege off Deir al-Zour city.
Around 5,000 Syrian soldiers are besieged in the base, and once united with the attacking troops they will then move toward the air base of Deir al-Zour, which is also under IS siege.
Deir al-Zour is so important for IS due to its proximity to Iraq and the oil fields in that part of the country.
For the Syrian army breaking the siege and capturing all IS-held parts of Deir al-Zour will help in securing the border with Iraq and retrieving the oil fields to shore up the crumbling energy sector in the war-torn country.