The battle for Raqqa rages as SDF counts the cost

US backed Syrian Democratic forces are engaged in fierce fighting with ISIL in the centre of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the jihadist group in Syria.

Kurdish fighters have taken up positions close to the Old Mosque.

Syrian army takes more oil fields from Islamic State in Raqqa and eastern desert https://t.co/9BLCkWu3aU pic.twitter.com/qciIC9R08X— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 15, 2017

An SDF commander says the Jihadists are deliberately placing civilians in danger:

“At the moment the challenges we face are civilians being used as human shields and heavily mined civilian areas. Because of this our other forces are moving slowly, for the civilians’ safety. In fact, we always appeal to the civilians to find a secure place for their safety.”

Some 30 kilometres from Raqqa SDF fighters are assessing the damage carried out by ISIL on al-Rasafa’s cultural sites and oil fields.

#Syria: #SDF & #Kurdish units advance through #alRowda, E #Raqqa. 27 #ISIS mercs eliminated. https://t.co/fBJgj77M0j #1ab #Diriya #Safin #EU pic.twitter.com/d1aeFKlCTa— Alcuin Bramerton (@AlcuinBramerton) July 10, 2017

Anti-Assad forces adopted a precise plan to ensure the oil infrastructure remained intact to allow for prompt production to help boost a shattered economy.

The damage done to al-Rasafa ‘s heritage sites and castles is another matter,

Islamic States’ wanton vandalism and the brutal battle to retake the city has resulted in the destruction of yet more of Syria’s once rich architectural tradition.
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