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SDF fighters mourn

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters sit next to a coffin of a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter killed by Islamic State militants in Raqqa, during a funeral in Tal Abiad, Syria, June 23, 2017. (Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

U.S.-backed fighters advance in Raqqa, Syria

Islamic State group jihadists wage fierce battles in their Syrian stronghold Raqqa in a bid to repel US-backed fighters advancing towards the walls of the Old City.

The Kurdish and Arab fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) entered Raqqa in early June, after months of fighting to encircle the northern city that has become a jihadist bastion.

Since then, they have seized one neighborhood in western Raqqa and another in the east, where they are now battling to secure control of the Al-Senaa district that leads to the Old City. (AFP)

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