BRIDGE TO NOWHERE: The Deir e-Zor Siyasiya Bridge, the last active supply route into the predominantly Islamic State-controlled provincial capital, was crippled Monday morning by a blast by an as-yet unknown party, isolating the city from its suburbs.
“The explosion took place after charges were placed on the sides of the bridge and detonated by remote control,” a spokesperson for the city who asked not be named told Syria Direct Monday.
In this photograph taking shortly after the explosion, the suspension bridge is severed just before it stretches over the Euphrates River.
Earlier on Monday, the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the bridge was destroyed by surface-to-surface missiles.
Prior to the explosion, the Siyasiya Bridge connected Deir e-Zor city, situated on the southwest bank of the Euphrates, to supplies on the northeast side of the river. IS used the bridge to transport military supplies, food and other humanitarian goods into the city. Regime forces sit west of Deir e-Zor, making it difficult to supply the city from that direction.
“Now the only way to transport supplies into the city is by boat,” said pro-opposition news agency Sham News Network.
While it is unclear who led the attack, the pro-Assad Lebanese news site Al-Manar claimed that the Syrian government was responsible.
“Syrian forces destroyed the Siyasiya Bridge in an operation carried about by the Special Forces and a team of Army engineers,” reported Al-Manar Monday.
Official Syrian new agencies had not commented on the event as of Monday.
The regime has increased its attacks on the oil-rich eastern province since IS began to amass soldiers around the Deir e-Zor military airport in late August in preparation to storm it.
Before IS gained control of the provincial capital, it was able to drive an alliance of FSA-affiliated fighters and Jabhat a-Nusra into submission after it captured the bridge on June 3 this year. The bridge has been key to controlling the city: Whomever held control of it usually controlled the city soon after.
-September 15, 2014
-Photo courtesy of SNN.
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