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Syrian FM says United States coalition sparing IS in Syria

12 October 2017

The Pentagon said that the USA -led coalition posts data every day on the number and result of strikes for the public to see.

A final assault on Islamic State's last line of defence in its former Syrian capital Raqa should begin yesterday night, a field commander for the US-backed forces operating there said as fight against jihadists intensifies across Syria.

In another front, Syria's army and its allies have encircled Islamic State in the city of al-Mayadin, southeast of Deir al-Zor, in eastern Syria, a Syrian military source said yesterday.

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But the coalition would not support any negotiated withdrawal of fighters, he said.

In a statement on October 10, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the USA -led coalition carried out fewer air strikes in Iraq in September when Syrian forces - backed by Russian air power - had started to retake Deir al-Zor Province.

Up to 400 militants are believed to remain in a small part of Raqqa surrounded by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, he said.

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Tens of thousands of civilians have fled, but with fighting and air strikes concentrated on a shrinking ISIL-held section of the city, the exodus has slowed to a trickle. A Reuters reporter spoke with Syrian fighters, who claimed: "We're ready for them".

Civilians say the tactic - used elsewhere by the group to slow its opponents - is increasingly putting them in the cross hairs of U.S. air power and allied fighters as they battle ISIL in densely populated districts near Raqqa's centre.

Dillon says up to 15 militants have surrendered in the past three weeks in Raqqa.

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