Russia's Admiral Essen frigate launches one of many cruise missiles from the Mediterranean towards ISIS targets in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, on September 5. Photo: Russian MoD
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Russia has launched cruise missiles at ISIS targets near the strategic eastern Syrian Deir ez-Zor on Tuesday in support of the Syrian Army’s operation to retake the city, Russia’s ministry of defence announced midday on Thursday.
The Russian Navy's Admiral Essen frigate of the Black Sea Fleet launched Kalibr cruise missiles against ISIS "objects located near Deir ez-Zor city," the Russian Defence Ministry stated on Tuesday.
The strike was launched from the Mediterranean and targeted the suburbs of ISIS-controlled al-Sholah, where the Russian ministry stated "most of the insurgents came from Russia and [former Soviet] countries."
Russia stated the strikes eliminated control and communication centers, weapons caches and a repair factory for ISIS's armored vehicles.
The statement added that the Syrian Army was aware of the strike.
Also on Tuesday, Syrian state TV announced that the Syrian Army had broken ISIS's seige of the city.
"Celebrations broke out across Deir Ezzor city after the Syrian Arab Army achieved a great victory breaking the siege imposed on the city by ISIS for over three years," the country's state news agency SANA reported.
Russian aerospace forces have conducted more than 80 sorties targeting the province over the past 24 hours, the ministry reported on Monday.
Since the rise of ISIS, the Syrian military and its affiliated militias have maintained control of an air base and some of the city south of the Euphrates. Syrian regime forces have now been pushing towards the besieged city from the southwest.
Deir ez-Zor city which is located at the top of the Middle Euphrates River Valley is geographically strategic, as it stretches to the Al Bukamal and Al-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq.
The Syrian regime backed by Russia, affiliated militias and Iran have been in a so-called race with the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Deir ez-Zor, which has been described as "ISIS's last stand" by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Background analysis: Syrian Army's retaking of Deir ez-Zor may take time