Deir ez-Zor has experienced years of ISIS control ever since the group’s ascendance in both Iraq and Syria during 2013-2014. The city was following ISIS’ rise caught between the militant group and the Syrian regime’s control, and during these years civilians were stuck in the city during this period. The siege over the city was broken over a month ago.
Civilians have suffered casualties ever since due to the clashes between the SAA and ISIS. The battles have also led to an enormous number of civilians fleeing Deiz ez-Zor to settle in other cities or in IDP (internally displaced people) camps.
Thousands of civilians find themselves languishing in camps in the Hasakah province, which borders the province of Deir ez-Zor and is situated to its north-east. As has been common throughout the conflict in Syria, displaced people living in these camps lament the conditions and the lack of basic necessities. Shelter in these camps is also scarce and people are unable to make a living due to the poor economic situation and lack of money in the hands of the displaced.
Sources on the ground in Deir ez-Zor said that entire towns and villages in the countryside have been completely emptied as a result of intense aerial bombardment against areas controlled by ISIS.
The UN estimates that some 95,000 people have been displaced from Deir ez-Zor due to the fighting just in the past eight days. Local sources estimate the figure to be higher.
There are currently two main fronts in the battle to take Deir ez-Zor from the hands of ISIS. The first is led by the SAA and is concentrated in the city and its western outskirts. The second was launched by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the International Coalition, in the eastern outskirts of the city.