Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa. Photo: June 2017

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Reuters

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The SDF, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, has spent months encircling Raqqa

US-backed Syrian forces have breached the wall at Raqqa’s Previous Metropolis as they attempt to retake town from so-called Islamic State, the US army says.

It says the coalition helped the advance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) by firing on two sections of the historic Rafiqah Wall.

The SDF, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, has spent months encircling town.

IS seized Raqqa in 2014, proclaiming it the capital of a “caliphate”.

The town is a vital hub for the jihadist group’s operations, and is reportedly defended by as much as four,000 fighters.

“Coalition forces supported the SDF advance into probably the most closely fortified portion of [Raqqa] by opening two small gaps within the Rafiqah Wall that surrounds the Previous Metropolis,” the US Central Command mentioned in a press release.

The SDF is an Arab-Kurdish alliance that was fashioned in 2015.

Final week, the SDF mentioned its fighters had totally encircled IS in Raqqa.

The US-backed forces have been steadily advancing on town since November, and launched an offensive to take it on 6 June.

The coalition has mentioned the seize of Raqqa will ship a “decisive blow” to the jihadist group.

The battle for town has been brutal for the civilians there.

The UN says that a minimum of 173 have been killed in June, and that the precise determine could possibly be far larger, stressing that “civilians should not be sacrificed for the sake of speedy army victories”.

It’s believed that as much as 100,000 individuals are trapped by the combating. Stories proceed to emerge of IS militants stopping civilians from fleeing.

Greater than 300,000 individuals have misplaced their lives in six years of battle in Syria, which started with protests in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad earlier than escalating right into a full-scale civil conflict. Eleven million individuals have been displaced by the combating.