Oil-rich Deir Ezzor province borders Iraq and is a strategic prize for both the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Russian-supported government troops. US officials say about 300 ISIL jihadists were initially aboard, along with a similar number of civilians, likely family members. Peace talks have failed to bring an end to a war where Islamist groups have increasingly dominated Syria's armed opposition.
On Saturday, the SDF said it had begun clearing IS from territory east of the Euphrates River, which cuts diagonally across Deir Ezzor province, cutting it in half.
A Russian Federation - which backs the Syrian regime - and the U.S. made an agreement in 2015, to see province separated into two areas of operation to prevent accidental clashes between the two sides. "Al-Shami also oversaw the building of improvised explosives to rig corpses, vehicles and buildings against local forces and civilians to inflict terror, death and destruction", the statement said. "We know for a fact that there were families and women and kids".
Asked about concerns of a possible clash between the SDF and Syrian troops, the coalition said: "We urge all forces to concentrate their efforts on our common enemy (IS)".
Abu Khawlah, who heads the SDF's Deir Al Zor Military Council (DEMC), read the statement at a press conference in the village of Abu Fas in Syria's northeast Hasakeh province.
This week, Israel is conducting a massive drill along its border with Lebanon simulating war with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah. According to Reuters, only a few hundred meters of militant-held ground separate the advancing forces from the besieged enclave.
The army and militias fighting alongside it seized the Teym oilfield in desert south of Deir al-Zor.
Also according to Sputnik, t he Syrian armed forces supported by Russian aviation have inflicted the excruciating defeat on ISIL terrorists in Deir ez-Zor area, that may be considered the terrorist group's biggest loss in the past three years, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.
The previous day, foodstuff supplied by the Syrian Trade Association was delivered to Deir ez-Zor via the road newly opened by Syria's forces when they broke the Daesh encirclement.
Earlier this week, the Syrian army and allied troops with the backing of Russian air fire lifted the three-year-old siege by IS on Deir al-Zour city through the Brigade 137 base in western Deir al-Zour.