Russian Federation says US-led coalition colludes with IS in Syria

10 June, 2017, 17:35 | Author: Clay Erickson
  • An Iraqi from Khazir camp for the displaced from the battleground city of Mosul emerges refreshed from a swim in a nearby river

USA -backed forces in Syria have begun the long-awaited battle seeking to retake the Islamic State's Syrian de facto capital of Raqqa, the US -led coalition fighting the extremist group said Tuesday.

Townsend also predicted "a lot of hard fighting ahead" even if the Islamic State is driven from the two cities, the militants last major urban strongholds.

The SDF are expected to move from Meshleb into neighbouring al-Senaa, with the area in between being targeted by the US-coalition overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The United States Central Command said it "does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them", but promised to take "appropriate measures" to protect US forces tasked with defeating the Islamic State group.

The UN children's agency UNICEF warned Friday that "an estimated 40,000 children remain trapped in risky conditions in Raqa city".

Thursday's attack, which marks the first time that forces supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have attacked coalition troops in that region, came just hours after the USA bombed two pro-Syrian government pickup trucks carrying weapons that had moved against US -backed fighters near the town of Tanf.

Its regional spokesman David Swanson said as many as 100,000 people "may stay trapped" inside during the assault.

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He said SDF forces were also advancing on the northern front outside the city, and had repelled an attack by the extremists as they pushed towards the city limits from the west.

"Children are deprived of the most basic and life-saving necessities", he added, urging safe passage for those who want to leave the city.

They are backed by the US-led coalition which carried out heavy air strikes on Raqa and its surroundings overnight and into Friday. It said one of those killed was an activist with the group.

Surovikin also noted that the USA was clearly attempting to hamper forces of the Syrian Arab Republic who are undertaking efforts to secure the country's southern border, citing the "absurd assertions" and of Washington, who "vaguely explains" that government forces pose a threat to US -led forces.

"Our forces liberated a large factory of sugar in addition to a strategic military base used by Daesh [IS] and previously belonging to the Syrian army", she said.

The U.S. CENTCOM military command refused to comment on specific allegations but said it uses white phosphorous rounds "in accordance with the law of armed conflict.in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures".

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

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