Islamic State in fresh offensive for Deir e-Zor

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The Islamic State (IS) launched a three-pronged assault on Deir e-Zor from the city’s southeastern industrial districts on in a campaign to capture yet another provincial capital, reported pro-opposition Mojez News on Thursday. “An IS suicide bomber barreled a Hummer packed with explosives into a regime checkpoint in the south-central a-Sina’ah district on Wednesday–it was completely destroyed, and dozens of regime soldiers were killed,” Mujahed a-Shami, a journalist with the grassroots Deir e-Zor is Being Silently Slaughtered campaign told Syria Direct on Thursday. IS forces struck from the northeast, while simultaneously battling nearby regime forces, reported pro-opposition Sham News Network on Thursday. IS covets Deir e-Zor airbase, only 3.5 km southeast of the suicide-bombed regime checkpoint. “Capturing Deir e-Zor airbase would mean the collapse of regime military positions to the northeast of the airport, and the complete fall of Deir e-Zor to IS,” a Deir e-Zor-based journalist told Syria Direct Thursday. As the city of Deir e-Zor lies split between regime and IS control, the Syrian army finds itself under increasing pressure to keep yet another provincial capital from falling to opposition forces.