TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, hailing the breaking of the siege of Deir ez-Zor by Syrian 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 Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) militants, Reuters reported.

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

Russian air strikes that struck Daesh targets in the city on Tuesday helped Syrian government troops and their allies in the area swiftly advance, he said, citing a Russian Defense Ministry report to Putin.

On Tuesday, Syrian security forces advanced against Daesh to reach troops surrounded for years by the terrorists in a government-held enclave in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.

State television reported that advancing Syrian forces had linked up with government troops in Deir ez-Zor.

Deir ez-Zor is located southeast of Daesh’s main stronghold Raqqa.

Both cities lie in oil-rich areas on the Euphrates River.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh, currently controlling parts of it.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.