Russia's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva says the Syrian Army is preparing to launch offensives against Islamic State militants in the cities of Deir Ez--Zor and the militants' stronghold of Raqqa.
Speaking to Russia's RIA news agency on April 29, Aleksi Borodavkin said the Russian Air Force is supporting the ground campaign by troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian Army recaptured the city of Palmyra from IS militants on March 27 after weeks of fierce fighting and Russian air strikes.
That allowed Assad's forces to cut off the militant’s main supply route between western Syria and their de facto capital, Raqqa.
Meanwhile, Syrian Kurdish fighters have advanced south to the town of Shaddadeh, cutting off IS supply routes between Raqqa and the IS-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq.
But the road linking Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor remains under the control of IS militants.
Based on reporting by Reuters, RIA, TASS, AP, and Interfax