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Saturday, May 28, 2016, Jaistha 14, 1423 BS, Shaban 20, 1437 Hijri


US-backed forces battle IS in Syria, Iraqi city
Published :Saturday, 28 May, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 20

BEIRUT, May 27 : Kurdish and Arab fighters aided by US soldiers battled the Islamic State group north of its Syrian stronghold of Raqa on Thursday as Iraqi forces edged towards the jihadist-held city of Fallujah.
The twin offensives are two of the most significant ground assaults against the extremists since they declared a self-styled "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria in 2014.
The assaults came as Syria's UN envoy said trapped civilians risk starvation unless Damascus and rebel groups allow greater access to humanitarian aid convoys.
The UN Security Council is to discuss Friday the humanitarian situation in Syria and the possibility of parachuting aid to besieged cities.
Near the front line north of Raqa city, an AFP photographer saw US soldiers on Wednesday assisting a Kurdish-Arab alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The SDF is working its way through villages and farmland south of the town of Ain Issa, less than 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Raqa city.
It said its fighters had "advanced seven kilometres from Ain Issa and liberated five villages and four fields."
"We liberated the villages of Fatisah, Namroudiya, and Wastah as well as several fields. The coming battle will hold a lot of big surprises," SDF field commander Baraa al-Ghanem told AFP.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said SDF fighters Thursday were shelling IS positions near Ain Issa as the US-led coalition carried out nearly non-stop air raids.
The Britain-based monitor updated its toll for the five-year war to more than 280,000 dead.
A fragile truce agreed between the US and Russia in February had curtailed Syria's bloodshed despite consistent allegations of violations, but the international fight against IS was excluded from the ceasefire deal.     ?AFP







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