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DEIR AL-ZOUR Valtteri Filppula Jersey , Syria, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- After a six-hour drive from the capital Damascus to the northeast, through the desert, the only sign of reaching Deir al-Zour city was a checkpoint and a long line of concrete barriers leading to another checkpoint with soldiers manning the entrance with a stone arch sign, featuring the Syrian flag.
After crossing the checkpoint, military outposts were seen surrounding the Panorama roundabout, with no sign of people or cars in the city Jordan Weal Jersey , which has recently seen an end of a three-year siege imposed by Islamic State (IS) militants.
Driving through the city streets was easy as no cars or people were seen, only some cars, covered with dust, with flat tiers were seen deserted here and there.
The only cars working were military vehicles.
No electricity, or fuel in the city, which later explained the empty streets. The city looked like a ghost town, with dust filling the roads Brian Elliott Jersey , and air, as it's surrounded by desert.
Xinhua reporters were escorted, along with other Syria-based reporters for foreign agencies, to the city for the first time with the Syrian army since the military forces broke the siege a couple of weeks ago.
After gathering at the Governorate building for a cup of tea and a quick snack, reporters were taken to the al-Wadi street, one of the main roads in the city.
At that popular marketplace, bone-weary people were seen for the first time by reporters. Their faces were haggard Brandon Manning Jersey , reflecting the suffering during the siege.
Little children and young men started gathering around reporters, particularly when the governor of Deir al-Zour, Mohammed Ibrahim Samra, came to deliver a briefing.
Children were pushing their way through to reach him, and one was so determined.
""I have a fever. I need to speak to him,"" one child told a Xinhua reporter.
Just a few meters behind the governor, a convoy of aid trucks donated by Iran was on standby as the distribution was about to begin.
As reporters were preparing to start reporting Scott Laughton Jersey , a sudden sound of explosions started being clearly heard in the area, and that's when people started running for a hiding place.
A man standing on the sidewalk invited Xinhua reporters to take shelter in his little shop.
""It's explosive bullets,"" people shouted while running for shelter.
Then, the soldiers asked the reporters to leave the area and get on the bus to leave.
One soldier told Xinhua that IS militants flew drones, some of which were outfitted with guns firing explosive bullets.
""They apparently exposed our location or had someone to tip them off about our presence in the area and they started firing,"" he said.
Later on, it turned out that around seven people were wounded on the same street by the firing.
With the government forces in control of 75 percent of the capital city of Deir al-Zour Sean Couturier Jersey , the terror-designated group is still holding areas close to the government-controlled ones.
But their positions have been largely exposed now that the airbase of Deir al-Zour returned operational after the siege is lifted.
At the airbase, a military commander told Xinhua and other reporters that the Syrian army secured the vicinity of the facility completely.
""The airport has become ready for the landing of warplanes and helicopters as well as civilian planes. The vicinity of the airport is completely safe as the army secured 22 km around the facility in all directions and the military part of the airport is fully functional,"" he said.
On Sept. 9, the Syrian army broke the IS siege imposed on the military airport of Deir al-Zour city in eastern Syria, just days after the troops broke the siege on the city of Deir al-Zour.
During the siege, the airbase wasn't functional as IS would target the planes with anti-aircraft weaponry.
The officer said the siege was tough but noted that airdrops of food and other supplies were frequently taking place in Deir al-Zour.
""The soldiers have been patient and so were the civilians. The siege was tough but the people withstood it and finally gained the victory,"" he said.
The officer Travis Konecny Jersey , meanwhile, said that the IS militants in Deir al-Zour are collapsing thanks to the progress of the Syrian government forces and their allies.
""Honestly, Daesh (IS) is falling apart. They are rapidly collapsing and the Syrian forces are strongly advancing,"" he said.
After the siege on the airbase, cargo planes carrying food and other supplies started landing in the airport, and the Syrian army continued to pound the IS positions by artillery, which they had used to defend the airbase when IS was besieging them.
Back to the city Ivan Provorov Jersey , the night was falling and the streets were eerily quiet leading to the al-Qosur marketplace, one of the famous popular marketplaces in the city.
Upon arriving, the sunlight was slowly fading, and as it disappeared it was black. The only little lights were coming from an oven's fire of a man baking thyme pies and firewood of a nearby coffee shop, whose owner was using to make tea, as there is no cooking gas in the city.
Roadside stalls' vendors used the LED flashlight of their cigarette lighters to shine a little light over their goods or whenever they have a customer.
""When the siege was imposed by Daesh, we lost the electricity completely Jakub Voracek Jersey Sale , but now after the siege is lifted some fuel started entering the city to operate small generators for a couple of hours each day,"" Salem, a street vendor selling canned food, told Xinhua.
He said the cars have stopped in the city because there is no fuel. One liter of gasoline was sold at 6,000 Syrian pounds--1,000 Syrian pounds equals 1.9 dollars-- during the siege, 26 times more than the official price of 250 Syrian pounds per liter.
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