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US-backed SDF enters new area in northern Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A general view shows the rubble of a building in the suburb of Dariya on the western city limits of Raqqah, Syria, June 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have entered a new area in the city of Raqqah, the last stronghold of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria, retaking territory on the southern bank of the Euphrates River.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that the US-backed SDF, made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, sealed off the last escape route of Daesh by capturing the territory.

"Today, they entered Raqqah's south for the first time and seized the Al-Hal market," said the observatory's director, Rami Abdel Rahman. "The market is fully under SDF control but IS [Daesh] is waging a counter-attack." 

Abdel Rahman said some SDF fighters had advanced north across the river, while others had attacked Al-Hal from the adjacent district of Al-Meshleb in the east of the city.

The SDF confirmed that it had captured the market.

Backed by a US-led coalition that purports to be fighting Daesh, SDF fighters first broke into Raqqah on June 6.

The fighters have engaged in fierce fighting with Daesh as they push closer in on the city center.

The United Nations has expressed concern for up to 100,000 civilians it says are still trapped in the city, which became infamous as the scene of some of the group's worst atrocities, including public beheading.

Daesh seized Raqqah in 2014, the same year when it started its campaign of terror in Syria. It then proceeded to capture large parts of Syrian territory. But the terrorists have suffered major blows by the Syrian army and allies in recent months.

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