Final Raqqa assault launched

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A Syrian woman looks at fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces as civilians gather on the western front after fleeing the centre of Raqa. AFP

AIN ISSA (Reuters) – US-backed militias said they had launched their final assault on Syria’s Raqqa yesterday after a convoy of Islamic State fighters left the city, leaving only a hardcore number of jihadists to mount a last stand. “The battle will continue until the whole city is clean,” said a statement by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias. The SDF said earlier that a group of the jihadists had left in a convoy taking some civilians with them. But there were conflicting accounts as to whether the evacuees included both Syrian and foreign fighters. Raqqa was the first big Syrian city to fall to the IS as it declared a caliphate and rampaged through Syria and Iraq in 2014.

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