A Kremlin spokesman says President Vladimir Putin has sent his congratulations to Syrian President Bashar Assad after government forces breached the nearly three-year Islamic State siege of the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.

Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had briefed Putin on “the completion of the operation to break the siege” of Deir el-Zour.

Putin hailed it as an “important strategic victory” and sent a telegram to Assad to congratulate him. Peskov says fighting in the Syrian city continues, and government forces are still advancing.

Syrian state TV said earlier Tuesday that troops reached the western outskirts of the city, parts of which have been controlled by the extremists since January 2015.

Russia has provided crucial aid to Assad since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, and has been launching airstrikes in support of his forces since 2015.–AP

Source: National News Agency

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A Kremlin spokesman says President Vladimir Putin has sent his congratulations to Syrian President Bashar Assad after government forces breached the nearly three-year Islamic State siege of the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had briefed Putin on 'the...