60 days ago they were still over 200 kilometers away—in a completely different part of Syria
The Syrian army is converging on the besigied city of Deir ez-Zor from three directions. Which force finally reaches the city, and lifts the siege, first is anyone's guest but right now Syria's elite Tiger Forces are in pole position.
Up until now the Syrian army forces in the southern desert were the closest. Parked some distance before the ISIS-held T2 pumping station they are reportedly the only non-besieged Syrian forces inside Deir ez-Zor province—albeit just barely so. At the nearest point they are some 94 kilometers to the south of the besieged city.
On the most direct route to Deir ez-Zor, on the road leading from Palmyra, the Syrian army is still some 122 kilometers to the west of the city. This is the most obvious line of advance to take going to Deir ez-Zor but so far has also proven to be the most heavily defended. The Russian-trained 5th Corps has been fighting hard in this sector, at the town of Suknah, for months but progress in terms of captured kilometers has been slow.
Meanwhile the Tiger Forces have joined the advance on the lower Euphrates valley from the north. Just two months ago, in mid May, the Tigers were still fighting in eastern Aleppo province in Syria's north, which is nowhere near the besieged city—it is in fact over 200 kilometers away. But they have since advanced so far and so fast that they may now lead the charge to Deir ez-Zor.
The Tigers have now opened the possibility the besieged city can be reached from the north-western direction. Especially in the last five days, which has seen them advance some 25-30 kilometers south-east—exactly as if they were headed to DEZ city. We'll see what the actual plan is, is it to continue pushing in that direction, or link up with the other Syrian forces around Suknah, or something else entirely.
In any case, the lifting of the siege of Deir ez-Zor seems closer by the day. Its inhabitants and defenders sure do deserve it.