Tactical Talk (update) – The Syrian army has liberated the eastern city of Deir ez-Zour from ISIS, according to Syrian state media. Friday’s report says the military is now in full control of the long-contested city, which ISIS has controlled since 2014 and which the BBC calls ISIS’ “last major stronghold” in the country. Syrian government forces and their pro-government allies first broke the militant group’s siege of their part of the city in September and have been advancing against ISIS positions since then. “The city is completely liberated from terrorism,” said one report on state TV.
The development is the latest significant defeat for ISIS as the militant group sees its self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumble and lose almost all urban strongholds, the AP reports. ISIS is now believed to be in control of just a few pockets of Deir ez-Zour province, where the fighting has forced at least 350,000 civilians to flee their homes.