Syrian fighters seize parts of Islamic State 'capital' Raqqa

Syrian activists: At least 7 killed in Raqqa airstrike

He is shy and reserved, Hashimi said, and has recently stuck to the sparsely populated Iraq-Syria border where drones and strangers are easy to spot.

This is their only way into al-Mishlab, the first district the Kurdish and Arab militias have swept into, in what the coalition says will be a long and hard battle for Raqqa, ISIS' de facto "capital" in Syria.

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would have been his first public appearance, at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video.

Coalition commanders and Pentagon officials say the overall battle plan will address the Islamic State buildup in Deir el-Zour.

So far, the SDF-backed by the coalition-appear to have advanced with relative ease, capturing territory on all three axes of the offensive.

He asserted that the tribal delegation carries an initiative stipulating the handing over of the city to SDF forces in exchange for the safe exit ofmilitants from the city towards the Damascus suburbs and Deir Ezzor.

However no other media has reported yet and claimed Baghdadi has been killed, there were reports that heavy airstrikes had happened over the provincial capital of Raqqa last night.

Damascus and minders in Moscow are having difficulty reining in Iranian Shiite paramilitaries tied to the regime. Nor has there been any response from the US-led coalition force.

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We sent several questions to Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. Joint Task Force which heads an worldwide coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but we did not receive a response in time for publication. The U.S. military later confirmed its movement.

Russian and Syrian leaders agreed not to enter the area surrounding the camp at Tanf, designating it as a "deconfliction zone".

"In Syria, we regard these forces as unlawful military formations which operate outside of the legal environment". It was the second USA airstrike against those forces in as many months. The next day, Reuters reports that at least ten people were killed by a USA airstrike within Raqqa itself.

Smoke rises from al-Mishlab district at Raqqa's southeastern outskirts.

The U.S. -led coalition estimates that Raqqa, which Islamic State seized from Syrian rebels in 2014 during their lightning advance in Syria and Iraq, is defended by 3,000 to 4,000 jihadists, Reuters said.

But outside factors, including ongoing tensions between the US and Turkey over the Kurdish role in the operation, ultimately hindered efforts to speed up the Raqqa assault. Using unconventional warfare tactics, IS fighters have been covering the city's streets with large sheets of cloth to provide concealment from airplanes above while lacing the city's perimeter streets with landmines and fortified checkpoints.

On Monday, a coalition bombing raid killed 21 civilians as they tried to escape Raqqa by dinghy on the Euphrates River, a route also used by IS fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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