DAMASCUS, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army and its allies have seized control of over 75 percent of the capital city of Deir al-Zour province in eastern Syria following battles with the Islamic State (IS), a monitor group reported on Monday.
The progress came as the Syrian forces stripped IS of key areas including the Huwaijet Saqer over the past 24 hours, an advance that enabled the army to tighten the noose on IS militants, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Earlier in the day, a military source told Xinhua that the air base of Deir al-Zour had resumed operation on Monday amid major progress by the Syrian army and its allies.
The first patch of two cargo planes loaded with large quantities of supplies for Syrian forces landed at the air base on Monday morning, as the Syrian army has secured the vicinity of the base, the source said on condition of anonymity.
He said the Syrian warplanes had resumed operations in the air base and had been taking part in the battles against the IS militants.
Last week, the Syrian army broke the IS siege on the air base, just days after breaking the siege of the Brigade 173 west of Deir al-Zour.
During the siege, warplanes could not take off from or land on the base as IS would target them.
Meanwhile, the Observatory said Syrian reconnaissance forces, backed by Russian air forces, had reached the eastern bank of Euphrates River in Deir al-Zour.
The London-based watchdog group added that the forces crossed the river using water bridges following intense shelling on IS positions in the eastern bank of the river.
A day earlier, the Observatory said the Syrian army managed to besiege IS militants in parts of Deir al-Zour, following the recapture of the towns of Muraiyieh and Jafra.
The Syrian army is now 25 km away from the city of Mayadeen in the countryside of Deir al-Zour Province, a city deemed as the capital of IS in Deir al-Zour.
Deir al-Zour is the last major stronghold of IS, as the terror-designated group is also losing its de facto capital of Raqqa to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which has captured large swathes of the city in northern Syria.