The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and allied forces got to within three kilometers (1.86 miles) of Deir Ezzor, on Monday, according to reports.
Pro-government forces have advanced with tanks and helicopters to push militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) backwards over the past several days.
Deir Ezzor has been under siege by IS since the group launched an offensive on the city in May 2015. Some 125,000 civilians reportedly live in the city under dire humanitarian conditions.
Meanwhile, the Russian central command in Syria reported that two of its soldiers have died in shelling from ISIS near Deir Ezzor, which further shows that the Syrian Army is assisted by Russian ground troops.