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US-backed anti-IS forces struggle to gain ground in Raqa: Syria observatory

SDF and Arab fighters have made little progress inside the historical quarter: Monitor

AFP/PTI  |  Beirut 

File Photo: ISIS attackers (Photo: PTI/AP)
File Photo: ISIS attackers (Photo: PTI/AP)

US-backed forces struggled to gain ground against the Islamic State group in Syria's today, facing a wave of car bombs and mortars unleashed by the jihadists, a monitor said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces penetrated Raqa's Old City earlier this week after US-led air strikes pierced two holes in its ramparts.

But the and a unit of allied Arab fighters called the Syrian Elite Forces have made little progress inside the historical quarter, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

"IS is using car bombs, mortar fire, and snipers to wage a counter-offensive inside the Old City," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Observatory estimates that up to 30 per cent of has been captured by the US-backed forces since they entered the city on June 6.

Mohammad Khaled Shaker, a spokesman for the Syrian Elite Forces, told AFP there had been no notable advance today.

"There are some clashes, but we have not reached the city centre yet," he told AFP.

IS overran in early 2014 and it has since become infamous as the de facto Syrian capital of the group's so- called "caliphate".

An estimated 2,500 jihadists are left defending Raqa, according to the US-led

The global alliance is providing the with air cover, weapons, equipment, and special operations forces on the ground as advisers.

The Observatory reported yesterday that the delivered a large shipment of weapons, ammunition and armoured vehicles to the via Iraq.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 07 2017. 15:47 IST