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In Pictures: The final days of battle in Raqqa

Almost one year has passed since the launch of a military campaign in the Syrian province.

In Pictures: The final days of battle in Raqqa

Almost one year has passed since the launch of a military campaign in the Syrian province.

18 October 2017 Wednesday 23:26
In Pictures: The final days of battle in Raqqa

The deserted streets Raqqa bear witness to a fight that is almost over.

Almost one year has passed since the launch of a military campaign in the Syrian province, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) as the group's capital.

The SDF, backed by US troops on the ground, with air support from the coalition is in the thick of a final offensive.

The SDF is a group created by and led mostly by YPG Kurdish militias and integrated with Arab fighters and fighters from other minorities. Without a great number of men and armoured vehicles, the SDF had managed to quickly take control of areas of the city.

Civilians have been fleeing the city since the offensive began, but it is feared that almost 1,500 people are still trapped in the National Hospital and the stadium, which are surrounded by SDF forces.

Areas that are not yet taken by the SDF are hit daily by air raids and shelling attacks.

ISIL defends its position with snipers and occasional shelling, but front-line commanders fear the area is rigged with IEDs.

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The national hospital where there is a large number of civilians seen through a hole in an SDF forward position, in the west front line of Raqqa.   

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An SDF commander awaits instructions in a forward position near the children's hospital in the west front line of Raqqa.   

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Occasional fire is exchanged between ISIL fighters in the National Hospital and SDF forces in the west front line.   

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Coalition air raids are constant in the ISIL positions in the front lines of Raqqa. Estimates say that from some days ago, 10-20 air raids and artillery attacks are taking place daily.   

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An SDF fighter of the Qamishlo unit is transported to the front line near the Raqqa stadium in the western front - one of the last pockets of ISIL fighters in the city.   

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Sniper fire stops the advance of fighter convoys to the city's front lines. Ground troops call for precision air attacks for support.   

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Some SDF commanders say they do not have enough men and that the fighters are exhausted after months of battles.   

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Fighters prepare to leave after shelling diminishes in the western front.   

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Fighters prepare to distribute food to units in the eastern front.   

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Ain Issa refugee camp holds around 2,000 people who have fled the violence.   

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A new camp is being built and new families arrive some from Deir Az Zor where SDF units are still fighting ISIL fighters.   

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SDF fighters in the eastern front of Raqqa have been waiting for days in the same position.

Aljazeera

Updated: 19.10.2017 06:34
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