A Syria war monitor says Russian-backed Syrian forces have all but encircled Islamic State militants in Deir el-Zour city in eastern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Wednesday that Russia extended pontoon bridges across the Euphrates River, facilitating reinforcements to the eastern banks of The Euphrates river where the Syrian troops are closing in on the militants from the west.

The official state news agency SANA reported intense clashes in al-Husseiniyeh, which according to the Observatory is the remaining contested village on the eastern side of the river before the militants are besieged in the city.

Backed by Russia, Syrian forces have advanced since early September on Deir el-Zour. U.S.-backed forces are also racing to control areas along the border with Iraq in the oil-rich province.

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