Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

17 civilians killed in US-led coalition strikes on Raqa,

17 civilians killed in US-led coalition strikes on Raqa,

US-backed Syrian fighters Friday 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.

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.

The forces are now advancing into al-Romania district in northwest Raqqa, the SDF and the Observatory said.

The group said SDF forces took parts of the district of Jazra, west of Raqqa, backed by US -led air support. The war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the SDF had taken Mishlab and more than half of Sabahia.

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"However, in the course of their offensive, the government troops were confronted with counteraction from the aviation of the US-led worldwide coalition".

According to Surovikin, Russian forces had struck several Daesh convoys as they were leaving Raqqa.

"One gets the impression that the Americans are using (the Islamic State group) to offer stubborn resistance to the movement of government troops, making use of the legend about the fight against worldwide terrorism in Syria", the commander said, noting that Western news agencies have assisted Washington's misleading claims by proliferating fabricated stories about fierce clashes between USA -led armed personnel and the Islamist group.

It said heavy clashes continued to rock other parts of the neighbourhood, where at least 15 civilians were killed Thursday night in air strikes that hit an internet cafe.

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It added that at least seven other civilians were killed in air strikes late on June 8 and early on June 9. Photo Credit: Mohamad Abazeed/AFP via Getty Images "An estimated 40,000 children remain trapped in extremely unsafe conditions in Raqqa".

"Many are caught in the crossfire", said UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere, according to AFP. He urged all parties to give safe passage to those who want to leave.

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

In a video posted on its Aamaq news agency, IS also alleged the coalition used white phosphorous over Raqqa on Thursday at dusk, when Muslims would have been breaking their Ramadan fasts.

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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".

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