SDF Lower Islamic State Flag in Recaptured Town West of Raqqa

Shaer gas field

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the SDF now controlled around two-thirds of Al Meshleb and was some 400 metres from the neighbouring Al Senaa district.

"Many are caught in the crossfire", said UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere.

"There is an impression that under the slogan of fighting global terrorism in Syria the Americans are using IS (Daesh) to offer resistance to government forces' advances", AP reported him as saying.

The United States Central Command said it "does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them", but promised to take "appropriate measures" to protect US forces tasked with defeating the Islamic State group.

The US-led coalition, including the Kurdish armed units, lets militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa instead of killing them, the commander of Russia's force grouping in Syria, Sergey Surovikin said.

A group of journalists that visited the liberated neighbourhood of al-Mishlab on Friday were injured by mortar shells, when they visited the neighbourhood. He urged all parties to give safe passage to those who want to leave.

Al-Meshleb was the first neighbourhood in Raqa city entered by SDF fighters.

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ISIS militants have been retreating from Raqqa's outskirts in the face of advances by the SDF, Reuters reported Thursday.

"Hundreds" of United States military personnel are taking part in the Raqa offensive, according to the Pentagon, which said Thursday it believed up to 2,500 IS fighters were still holed up in Raqa.

The Kurdish-Arab alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) broke into Raqqa city's east earlier this week, months after they launched an operation to capture the extremist stronghold.

Elsewhere on Thursday, US forces shot down a pro-regime drone in southern Syria after it fired at US-led coalition forces, said coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon.

Many have described harrowing journeys as they fled Raqa city, with IS fighters targeting them as they tried to escape.

The U.S. has dealt the Syrian government and its allied troops several blows near Tanf close to the border with Jordan, where the U.S. trains Syrian opposition forces.

“Instead of eliminating terrorists guilty of hundreds and thousands of Syrian civilian deaths, the US-led global coalition alongside with their proxies, Syrian Democratic Forces, collude with IS field commanders, who surrender their positions and sites without resistance and head towards the regions where Syrian government forces actively conduct military operations, ” he said.

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