Islamic State (IS) fighters have broken through government defensive lines in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, surrounding a military airport and cutting off food supplies for about a quarter of a million civilians in what could become a major humanitarian disaster, The Guardian website reports today (January 18, 2017).
Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria is divided between the militants and the government of Bashar al-Assad. IS fighters have now taken control of the area where the UN's World Food Program (WFP) air drops were landing.
The UN body announced that it has halted its airdrops, leaving a quarter of a million civilians residing in the government-held areas of Deir ez-Zor under a tightened IS siege.
The Syrian military has responded with a series of airstrikes on IS positions in the area.