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Residents of Syria's Deir ez-Zor fear IS massacre

As it loses ground in Mosul, the Islamic State is more determined than ever to gain ground in Deir ez-Zor, and its takeover could spell disaster for the civilians who have remained in the area.
A general view shows smoke rising in the distance after fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, fired a mortar launcher from the village of Sabah al-Khayr on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor as they drive to encircle the Islamic State (IS) group bastion of Raqa on February 21, 2017.
The SDF made a major incursion into the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor as part of their push for Raqa, field commander Dejwar Khabat said. 

 / AFP
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In the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, the days are heavy and the nights are long. The sounds of explosions resonate and the streets are deserted as residents seek refuge in their homes. Too tired, poor, scared and hungry to venture outside, they struggle to survive from one day to the next amid the crippling siege as well as the ongoing Islamic State onslaught.

“All of us have this feeling that you might leave your home and not return,” Zein, a resident of Deir ez-Zor's al-Qusoor neighborhood, told Al-Monitor over the phone. “All the people are traumatized. There is no way to cope, as people become accustomed to a situation that then just gets worse."

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