U.S.-backed Syrian fighters fought Daesh militants in the heart of Raqqa, the terrorists’ self-styled capital, on Monday, as scores of civilians fled areas controlled by the group.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, aided by the U.S.-led coalition, launched their offensive to capture Raqqa on June 6, and have since taken several areas.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday’s fighting is concentrated in Raqqa’s southwestern neighborhood of Yarmouk as well as a central area close to the Old City.
The SDF says intense fighting is underway in central Raqqa, adding that its fighters have taken positions near a centuries-old mosque known as the Old Mosque.
The SDF said 11 Daesh fighters have been killed in the clashes since Sunday. The Daesh-linked Aamaq news agency said 14 SDF fighters were killed in the fighting in Raqqa on Sunday alone.
The intensification of fighting comes a week after Iraqi forces declared victory against Daesh in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the largest the terrorists have held.
The Kurdish-run Hawar news agency says some 180 civilians were able to flee areas controlled by Daesh, while the Observatory put the number in the hundreds.