US-backed forces take 90% of IS stronghold Raqqa — monitor
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US-backed forces take 90% of IS stronghold Raqqa — monitor

Under heavy aerial bombardment, Islamic State withdraws from 5 neighborhoods in 48 hours, abandons grain silos

A picture taken on September 19, 2017 shows a military convoy passing through the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli en route to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Raqqa. It carries US-made Oshkosh armored vehicles, bulldozers, and arms .(AFP PHOTO / Delil souleiman)
A picture taken on September 19, 2017 shows a military convoy passing through the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli en route to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Raqqa. It carries US-made Oshkosh armored vehicles, bulldozers, and arms .(AFP PHOTO / Delil souleiman)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — US-backed fighters have captured 90 percent of the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State group after overrunning five strategic neighborhoods, a monitor said on Wednesday.

“Because of the heavy (US-led) coalition airstrikes, IS withdrew from at least five key neighborhoods over the past 48 hours,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

“This allowed the Syrian Democratic Forces to control 90 percent of the city.”

IS has pulled out of the north of the city and abandoned its grain silos and mills.

“IS is now confined to the city center,” Abdel Rahman said.

“The difficulty in advancing and fully clearing these neighborhoods is linked to the mines that IS has left behind.”

IS seized Raqqa in early 2014, transforming the city into the de facto Syrian capital of its self-declared caliphate.

It quickly became synonymous with the group’s most gruesome atrocities, including public beheadings.

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