Iblid is largest area held by "moderate" rebels. It has been controlled by two coalitions Al-Qaida led HTS and another led by Ahrar al Sham native Syrian islamist group. During this week there has been fighting between coalitions. It seems that Ahrar al Sham has collapsed. They have lost several important towns including Iblid city and border crossings to Turkey. And many subgroups of Ahrar have switched sides to HTS. Ahrar has been asking ceasefire but HTS keeps taking over Ahrar areas.
"Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery"
Robert G. Ingersoll 1833-1899
I guess if they held out that long they had an air supply and possibly evacuation route, but even so.
They had continuous air supply by Syrian and later Russian cargo drops.
Latest information is that ISIS has mobilised almost all their reserves west of the Euphrates and are throwing them into the battle. Russian and Syrian aircraft flying continuous sorties.
After almost 4 years the siege of Deir ez-Zor has been broken. Today SAA+friends broke through the last ISIS defenses and linked up with the encircled SAA forces. Next task is to clear ISIS from the last stretch of highway in order to allow food and supplies to reach the estimated 100,000 civilians still residing in the town.
For years I've seen vids of that old grey bearded General always in the thick of it. He was often shown with his homies fighting it out against ISIS in a huge grave yard, not a tree in sight, like the surface of Mars