ISIS Resistance 'Steadily' Increases as SDF Push Farther Into Raqqa

Jun 30, 2017, 00:40
ISIS Resistance 'Steadily' Increases as SDF Push Farther Into Raqqa

US-led coalition air strikes killed almost 60 people at a Syrian prison run by the Islamic State group, a monitor said today, as Washington insisted the jihadists remain its only target.

The U.S. has also repeatedly bombed pro-regime forces attempting to encroach U.S. backed fighters territory.

The U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have gained significant ground in the battle for Raqqa, the operational base for Islamic State over the past three years and a symbol of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

A U.S. State Department official said McGurk visits Iraq and Syria often to discuss humanitarian and stabilization assistance, and to "coordinate between our military and civilian initiatives, as well as post-liberation governance for areas liberated" from IS. Either way, "welcoming" Syria to try to take back parts of Syria held by ISIS is insincere so long as U.S. forces are going to attack them for doing so.

But gains for Assad, who is being supported by Russian Federation, have allowed regime forces and Iran-backed militias to head towards areas where the coalition is operating.

"We can understand and recognize concerns of our ally Turkey", says Dillon. "You've got to really play this thing very carefully and the closer we get, the more complex it gets".

But Washington's efforts to avoid deeper involvement in Syria's civil war could also become more complicated if Syria engages in another chemical weapons attack.

With slightly over 500 United States soldiers involved, the USA is committed to closely assisting the SDF so that casualties are low and their limited firepower is most effective.

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ISIS is an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group. Moscow and Damascus vehemently denied banned weapons had been used by the government side, with Putin describing the incident as a rebel "provocation".

Ali Haidar, the minister for national reconciliation, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the White House statement foreshadowed a "diplomatic battle" that would be waged against Syria in the halls of the United Nations.

The SDF began its drive against Raqqa - the last IS stronghold inside Syria - in early June after a monthslong campaign to encircle ISIS fighters inside the city.

"They did not specify any sum, but they decided we will support first removing mines, lifting rubble, maintenance of schools, then electricity stations and water", Alloush said.

The no combat zones will not result in a partitioned Syria, Mattis asserted.

Two Syrian monitoring groups, Deir Ezzor 24 and Justice For Life, say the weapons were dropped by an unidentified jet over Doblan, a village on the Euphrates River.

"Sometimes, they infiltrate our areas through tunnels, but we repel them", Delil said pointing out that IS militants have no strong resistance, and usually withdraw and flee.

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