• US-backed force advances in fight for IS Syria bastion


    BEIRUT: US-backed Syrian fighters on Friday (Saturday in Manila) seized part of a district on the western edge of the Islamic State group’s Raqa bastion and battled to advance inside the city’s east, a monitor said. The Kurdish-Arab alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) broke into Raqa for the first time earlier this week, months after they launched an operation to capture the jihadist stronghold. They are backed by the US-led coalition which carried out heavy air strikes on Raqa and its surroundings overnight and into Friday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said SDF fighters took parts of the suburb of Jazra just west of Raqa’s city limits on Friday. It said heavy clashes continued to rock other parts of the neighborhood, where at least 15 civilians were killed Thursday night in air strikes that hit an internet cafe. SDF spokesman Talal Sello said fighters were advancing on several fronts on Friday. He said SDF forces had also advanced on the northern front outside the city.



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