September 15, 2017 / 5:28 PM / 2 years ago

Russia: Syria government forces now on east bank of Euphrates river

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Advance units of the Syrian government army have crossed the Euphrates river and taken up position on the eastern bank, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

U.S.-backed Syrian militias opposed to President Bashar al-Assad had set the Euphrates River as a red line, saying they would not allow government forces to cross onto the east bank.

“After a major victory near Deir al-Zor, the Syrian government army continues to clear Islamic State terrorists from the eastern regions of the country,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference.

“The suburbs of this provincial center have been liberated. Advance units have successfully crossed the Euphrates and are holding positions on its eastern bank.”

Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Gareth Jones

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