Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Syrian special forces destroy strategically vital bridge

The Islamist militant group ISIL depends on the Euphrates crossing in Deir Ezzor city in eastern Syria to move supplies .

BEIRUT // Syrian special forces on Monday destroyed a bridge over the Euphrates River used by the Islamist militant group ISIL to move supplies in eastern Syria, media run by Hizbollah said, a blow to the group in the swathe of Syrian territory it controls near Iraq.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war, said an explosion had destroyed the bridge in Deir Ezzor city that is of vital importance to ISIL as the only way for it to move into parts of the city it controls.

ISIL seized control of most of Deir Ezzor province in July as its fighters took territory from rival insurgent groups using weaponry brought in from Iraq. Parts of Deir Ezzor city, including its airport, remain in government hands.

“The Syrian armed forces destroyed the Political Bridge in Deir Ezzor in a special operation carried out by special forces and army engineers, leading to the killing of the militants who were on it,” Al Manar, a media organisation run by the Lebanese group Hizbollah, reported on its website.

Hizbollah, which is backed by Iran, has been an important ally of president Bashar Al Assad in the civil war and has deployed forces to fight alongside government loyalists.

The Syrian government has been pressing an air campaign against ISIL in eastern and central Syria as the United States seeks to assemble a coalition against the group that has seized large areas of both Syria and Iraq.

Western governments have ruled out the idea of co-operating with president Bashar Al Assad in the fight. US policy towards Syria is built on Mr Al Assad leaving power.

US president Barack Obama said last week he would not hesitate to strike ISIL in Syria. The Syrian government has said any action taken without its permission will amount to an act of aggression.

* Reuters

Updated: September 15, 2014 04:00 AM