ISIS militants still in Syria's Raqqa and 'they will likely die there'

Saul Bowman
August 9, 2017

The London-based collective of journalists and researchers has always had civilian death tolls that are wildly divergent from those acknowledged by the coalition.

On Saturday, Syrian state news agency Sana reported citing the deputy head of the local branch of the Red Crescent. that the US-led coalition allegedly struck a Raqqa hospital used exclusively by civilians with banned phosphorus bombs.

The coalition evaluates reports from coalition partners and from, an independent monitoring group that estimates 4,724 civilian deaths - more than seven times the coalition's estimate - have resulted from anti-ISIS coalition strikes.

"Although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties unfortunately occurred", the statement read.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused the Syrian government on Sunday of blocking their Al-Raqqa campaign during a meeting with the U.S. Coalition.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of Arab and Kurdish fighters and backed by US forces, have been encircling Raqqa and advancing on the city since November. The US decision to arm the YPG/PYD has incensed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, as it considers the group to be the Syrian branch of the PKK.

The commander said jihadists will display similar resolve in Raqqa, stressing that ISIS will continue to operate regardless of defeat.

The militants were ousted from their main Iraqi bastion of Mosul last month.

Before attacking IS urban areas, offensive forces typically surround the area to ensure foreign fighters can not escape and leave Iraq or Syria, McGurk said.

Some 2,000 IS fighters are left in the city and "most likely will die in Raqqa", he said, according to Reuters.

The two leaders also spoke about "countering Iranian malign influence", according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.

In addition, renewed efforts by The Trump Administration to "increase burden sharing from the coalition" among what he said were 73 countries has also been a factor. Since the end of Ramadan, the RISF has released several civilians that worked with ISIS, on the condition that they did not shed blood.

There was no obvious specific target for the strikes, though the United States has been generally targeting ISIS forces within the city to try to back the Kurdish-led invasion.

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