The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Sunday they had fully captured Deir Ezzor’s countryside that is located east of the Euphrates River.
“The eastern countryside of the city has been fully liberated from ISIS with the international coalition and Russia’s support,” the SDF announced in a statement on Sunday.
The SDF's most powerful component, the People's Protection Units (YPG), also thanked the international forces, including the International Coalition and the Russian forces for offering air support, logistical advice, and cooperation on the ground.
“We hope for an increase in this support and for ensuring the necessary air cover,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its long-range Tu-22 bombers had carried out raids against ISIS targets in Deir Ezzor.
A ministry statement said the bombers took off from Russia and were accompanied by fighter jets from Russia's air base in Hmeimim.
At the political level, the Syrian opposition doesn’t have high hopes for the success of the second stage of the eighth round of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva this week.
Based on the conclusions reached during the first stage of the talks, the opposition said the Syrian regime, backed by Russia, is trying to terminate the role of “Geneva” by switching the focus to the Syria National Dialogue Congress to be held later in Sochi.
The regime delegation returned from Geneva last Saturday, without confirming whether it would attend the second stage of the talks, expected to kick off in the Swiss city on Tuesday.
Yahya Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Council, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We cannot predict what the regime will do next, particularly that the Syrian delegation never took the negotiations seriously.”
According to Aridi, the regime is aware that a political solution in Syria would harm its own interests.
For his part, Hisham Marwa a representative of Syria's opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that despite the importance of the direct talks between the opposition and regime delegations, “those negotiations would be useless if not accompanied with a decision to approve the four items: transitional period, constitution, elections, and fighting terrorism.”