World

Syrian Army liberates key oil field as Raqqa offensive against Isis begins

Syrian Army liberates key oil field as Raqqa offensive against Isis begins

US and coalition forces carried out 187 airstrikes June 6-13, targeting ISIS fighters desperately attempting to fend off an assault by America's Kurdish allies, who launched an operation on June 6 to liberate the terror group's de facto capital.

The SDF, supported by heavy coalition air strikes, have taken territory to the west, east and north of the city."Coalition air strikes have intensified around the city", said Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry.

Smoke rises from the al-Mishlab district at Raqqa's southeastern outskirts, Syria June 7, 2017.

We review the key developments in Syria, including reports that the U.S.is setting up a new base in southern Syria, more civilian casualties from coalition airstrikes near Raqqa, and claims that eight people were killed in an airstrike on a shelter in Daraa.

The violence in Raqqa comes amid tensions in southeastern Syria where Syrian troops and their allies have been clashing with US -backed rebels near the border with Iraq.

This undated frame grab from video posted online Saturday, June 10, 2017, by the Aamaq News Agency, a media arm of the Islamic State group, shows a mosque that was damaged by bombardment by the US -led coalition and USA -backed fighters in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.

US forces have reportedly spread from their initial location at Tanf toward a second base at Zakf, around 40-50 miles (60-70km) to the northeast, said Abu al-Atheer, a military spokesman for the USA -backed Maghawir al-Thawra rebel group, to Reuters.

Mattis' announcement that the USA would annihilate ISIS (and massacre civilians by the hundreds) is still somewhat dubious, considering video footage appears to have emerged of ISIS fighters fleeing the conflict in Raqqa safely despite the hundreds of bombs and white phosphorous loaded munitions us -backed forces have been dropping over the city.




GENEVA-Air strikes by the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) targets have killed hundreds of civilians around Raqqa, the militant group's last Syrian stronghold, and left 160,000 people displaced, a United Nations panel said on Wednesday. The army says that in the latest incident, troops fired on a pickup truck and two motorcycles, killing five. We've seen clear collusion between, for example, the USA proxies, the SDF forces who we know according to reports on the ground have effectively given ISIS a back door out of Raqqa when they've been under threat.

USA defense officials dismiss suggestions the coalition hasn't acted forcefully enough to prevent IS leaders from moving headquarters and regrouping.

In a video released through its Aamaq news agency, IS said the US -led coalition used white phosphorous over Raqqa last Thursday at dusk, when Muslims would have been breaking their Ramadan fasts. Although the United States has shown willingness to back its force of Arab fighters with defensive airstrikes, there are few signs that the rebels are strong enough militarily to move northeast to Deir al-Zour.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 25 airstrikes overnight Thursday and Friday, June 8-9, on Raqqa saying they killed 17 people, including 12 who were killed at an Internet cafe. Prior to January, Russia had consistently been responsible for more civilian deaths than the coalition.

The battle for the city is expected to be extended and bloody, and could mark a major turning point in the war against the extremists.

Tens of thousands of refugees also have descended on Mayadeen, driven from homes in Iraq and Syria by fighting.

Abu Mohammad al-Raqqawi, a member of the anti-ISIS activist group called "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS)", said they have been informed that the ISIS delegation's negotiations with the SDF officials have been held in the town of Tell Abyad in northern Syria.


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