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U.S.-backed forces capture 55 pct of Syria's Raqqa
Last Updated: 2017-08-07 07:22 | Xinhua
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After two months of battles, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have captured 55 percent of Syria's northern city of Raqqa, the main stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, a monitor group reported on Sunday.

Heavily backed by the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian fighters led by the Kurdish YPG, succeeded in maintaining a progress against the IS militants in the city of Raqqa, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The UK-based watchdog group said many of the IS militants, particularly the Syrian ones, want to leave Raqqa as a result of the intensified battles. However, those militants are afraid they could be executed by their commanders if they were caught fleeing the city.

Other foreign militants, mainly the Asian ones, refuse to leave, saying they will either be victorious or die in Raqqa, according to the Observatory.

Now, the IS militants are trying to foil the progress of the SDF by deploying large number of snipers and planting explosive devices.

Meanwhile, the Observatory said that 1,500 people, one third of who civilians, have been killed during the battles since the war on Raqqa began two months ago.

Around 180 women and children were among those killed during the battles and the intensified airstrikes of the U.S.-led coalition, the Observatory added.

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