Putin, in telegram to Syria's Assad, hails 'strategic' Deir al-Zor victory

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, hailing the breaking of the siege of Deir al-Zor by Syrian government troops, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters that Putin had hailed the breakthrough as “a strategic victory” over Islamic State militants.

Street-to-street fighting was now underway in Deir al-Zor, Peskov said.

Russian air strikes that struck Islamic State targets in the city on Tuesday helped Syrian government troops in the area swiftly advance, he said, citing a Russian Defence Ministry report to Putin.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn