MOSCOW, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Syrian government troops have deblocked the city of Deir al-Zour, scoring a "strategic defeat" for the Islamic State (IS), the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
Supported by Russian air and missile strikes, Syrian government troops swiftly breached IS defense lines and deblocked Deir al-Zour, it said in a statement.
Some fortified areas of the militants with a network of underground tunnels, artillery positions and shelters for manpower and ammunition depots were destroyed, the ministry said.
IS fighters tried to stop the breakthrough by massively using suicide bombers on armored vehicles, and the advancing Syrian troops destroyed more than 50 of them.
According to the ministry, Syrian government troops are currently expanding the breakthrough and liberating quarters of the city occupied by the IS.
Prior to the operation, Russian warplanes and a frigate carried out strikes against enemy targets on the outskirts of Deir al-Zour, which had been under IS siege for several years.