Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
World News | By Penny Hart

Backed Syrian militias push into IS-held Raqqa

Backed Syrian militias push into IS-held Raqqa

Amid the advances, it was reported by local media activists and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that an internet cafe in Jazrah was hit in a coalition airstrike, killing 17.

"Many are caught in the crossfire", said UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere.

The Observatory said rebels launched an attack on government forces near the area where the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi borders meet.

A member of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, in the town of Tabqa, about 55 km west of Raqa city, as they advance in their battle for the Daesh group's stronghold.

US-led coalition forces launched heavy raids into Friday morning in support of Syrian fighters battling to oust ISIS from Raqqa, a monitor said. "It raises a question why they do it and what their real goals are".

"Children are deprived of the most basic and life-saving necessities", he added, urging safe passage for those who want to leave the city. The offensive has been backed by the US-led coalition with air strikes, special forces advisers, weapons, and equipment.

Al-Meshleb was the first neighborhood in Raqqa city entered by SDF fighters.

SDF fighters were armed mostly with light weapons including Kalashnikovs, and were also returning mortar fire on ISIL positions.

Three explosions heard near London Bridge
She also saw a shirtless man being handcuffed and taken into custody. "It looked to me that the van was aiming at the people". The BBC showed a photograph of two possible London attackers shot by police, one of whom had canisters strapped to his body.

ISIS militants have been retreating from Raqqa's outskirts in the face of advances by the SDF, Reuters reported Thursday.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said "hundreds" of U.S. military personnel were taking part in the Raqa offensive.

Several hundred thousand civilians still live in the city.

Although its believed many IS fighters have fled the city others have dug in with booby-traps, tunnels and snipers positioned to slow the SDF advance.

Elsewhere in Syria, a United States warplane shot down a pro-regime drone on Thursday night near the Jordanian border in the latest incident in escalating tensions in the country's south.

US defense officials said the weapon fired by the drone did not detonate and no one was hurt.

Tensions around At-Tanaf have surged as pro-regime forces, including Iranian-backed militias, look to expand their influence.

"Instead of eliminating terrorists guilty of killing hundreds and thousands of Syrian civilians, the US -led coalition together with the Democratic Forces Union controlled by it enters into collusion with ringleaders of the ISIL (Islamic State group), who give up the settlements they had seized without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active", Surovkin said, according to Russian News Agency TASS.

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