Battle for Raqqa Becomes 'More Fierce' as 70 Percent of City Freed From Daesh

© REUTERS / Rodi SaidSyrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk with their weapons, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk with their weapons, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016. - Sputnik International
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A media relations representative of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mustafa Balli, told Sputnik Turkey that the SDF are getting closer to Raqqa’s city center as 15 districts have been liberated from Daesh terrorists.

“The operation in Raqqa has been going on for 82 days. The fighting is moving to the center of the city and the clashes are becoming more and more fierce,” Balli said.

He further said, “As a result of the advancement of our forces, from this moment, 70 percent of the city's territory has been liberated from Daesh. Some 15 districts have been cleared.”

According to Balli, the battle continues in the area between the old district of Raqqa and the Mirur district. 

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, advance in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor as they drive to encircle the Islamic State (IS) group bastion of Raqa on February 21, 2017 - Sputnik International
Over 70 Terrorists Reportedly Killed in Militia's Push Against Daesh in Raqqa
“In the course of the clashes, dozens of Daesh militants were eliminated the day before,” the representative added.

Earlier, Balli said that a large number of civilians were killed during clashes as Daesh continues carrying out attacks using mined vehicles and setting up mined traps. 

“The terrorists use civilians as human shields. They set up mines and other explosive devices on the roads, which civilians use to try and escape. Thus, all those who try to leave the city are in mortal danger,” Balli told Sputnik on Sunday.

The representative also stressed that the SDF forces were working diligently to evacuate civilians from the territories where fierce battles are raging.

Raqqa has been controlled by Daesh since 2013. In June, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the US-led coalition began an operation to liberate the city from the terrorists.

The coalition's activities, however, have not been authorized by President Bashar Assad’s government or the UN Security Council.

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