Syrian Forces Retake Deir Al-Zor Hospital After IS Offensive

Syrian Forces Retake Deir Al-Zor Hospital After IS OffensiveSyrian Forces Retake Deir Al-Zor Hospital After IS Offensive

Syrian government forces retook a hospital in Deir al-Zor after the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group attacked it on Saturday following a dawn offensive by the militants on the besieged eastern Syrian city, a war monitor and state media said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors Syria’s five-year-long war, said IS had killed at least 35 members of the Syrian armed forces and detained some medical staff from the hospital, Reuters reported.

The fighting in and around the hospital also killed at least 24 IS fighters, the Observatory said.

IS’s Amaq news agency said its fighters staged a “major offensive” on the southwestern edge of Deir al-Zor on Saturday, storming the Assad Hospital and cutting the supply route between a Syrian Army base and the airport.

IS controls most of Deir al-Zor province and has laid siege since March last year to the remaining government-held areas in the city of the same name, which is close to Syria’s eastern border with Iraq.

Deir al-Zor Province links IS’s de facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa with territory controlled by the militant group in neighboring Iraq.

IS also said it had taken control of a checkpoint, a fire station, university accommodation, grain silos and some territory near the al-Tayyam oilfields, in the vicinity of the state-held military airport on the city’s southern edge.

Russia’s RIA state news agency on Saturday reported a source within the airbase on the southern edge of the city as saying an IS attack had been repelled.

IS said it killed at least 80 government troops, took three prisoner and destroyed a number of armored vehicles.

The Syrian government and its Russian allies make regular aid drops into the encircled city and there are frequent airstrikes on IS targets in and around Deir al-Zor.