Russia says US-led coalition colludes with IS in Syria

Russia says US-led coalition colludes with IS in Syria

US-led coalition forces launched heavy raids into Friday morning in support of Syrian fighters battling to oust ISIS from Raqqa, a monitor said.

In addition to holding part of Al-Sabahiya in Raqa's west, the alliance also controls the eastern neighbourhood of Al-Meshleb.

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

ISIS extremists have been fighting back against the advancing forces with snipers as well as drones armed with explosives, according to the SDF.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the SDF now controlled around two-thirds of Al-Meshleb and was some 400 metres (yards) from the neighbouring Al-Senaa district.

The sources have published video footage and photographs of the bombs exploding over the city that is under attack on three sides by Kurdish forces supported by the US-led global anti-ISIS coalition.

But forces on the ground face major challenges in their advance, including what Mahmoud described as an effort by Isis to use civilians to slow down the SDF's advance, numerous mines both outside and inside the city, booby traps, vehicles wired with bombs, a network of tunnels under the city, and suicide bombers.

A group of journalists that visited the liberated neighbourhood of al-Mishlab on Friday were injured by mortar shells, when they visited the neighbourhood.

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An estimated 300,000 civilians were believed to have been living under IS rule in Raqa, including 80,000 displaced from other parts of Syria. The offensive has been backed by the US-led coalition with air strikes, special forces advisers, weapons, and equipment.

The International Rescue Committee said this week it was "deeply concerned for the safety of civilians in Raqa", noting a drop in the numbers leaving the city.

The operation - codenamed Operation Wrath of Euphrates - to reclaim Raqqa is led by the SDF, whose largest component is the YPG, and is backed by U.S. air power.

Talal Sillo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led SDF said Tuesday that the "great battle" had begun.

In a video posted on its Aamaq news agency, IS also alleged that the USA -led coalition used white phosphorous munitions over Raqqa on Thursday at dusk, when Muslims would breaking their fasts during the holy month of Ramadan.

Along with Mosul in Iraq, Raqa was one of the twin pivots of the self-styled Islamic "caliphate" that Daesh declared almost three years ago.

"It was armed and still had weapons on it when it was sacked upon by United States forces from an aircraft", Dillon said.

It was the second time in less than a month that the coalition had attacked pro-regime forces that strayed too near to the garrison.

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