Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqa are expected to fight to the death, but some local militants have surrendered recently as US -backed forces close in on their last strongholds, a USA coalition spokesman said on Wednesday.
After long months of intense bombing by US-led coalition forces, the moderate rebels have successfully surrounded ISIS terrorists within small parts of the city, where heavy fighting is anticipated.
"We have a responsibility to defeat Daesh while preserving civilian life to the greatest extent possible", said the coalition's director of operations brigadier general Jonathan Braga. "They're accumulating more and more forces in these places", said a fighter named Ardel Raqqa, one of the field commanders.
For three years Raqa was the de facto Syrian capital of Islamic State's self-declared caliphate, a centre of operations where it oversaw the management of much of eastern, central and northern Syria and planned attacks overseas.
Tropical Storm Ophelia not a hurricane yet; no threat to the US
An 18Z Tuesday run of the GFS model shows the storm hitting the south west coast at around midnight on Tuesday October 17. After moving past Spain, forecasters expect Ophelia to come quite close to the Irish coast as a strong storm on Monday.
In a statement on October 10, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the USA -led coalition carried out fewer air strikes in Iraq in September when Syrian forces - backed by Russian air power - had started to retake Deir al-Zor Province.
"The foreign fighters (in IS), we fully expect them to fight till the end - there's a hardcore of (foreign) fighters". A Reuters reporter spoke with Syrian fighters, who claimed: "We're ready for them".
In late September, the coalition acknowledged the deaths of 735 civilians in its strikes on Syria and Iraq since 2014, but the Britain-based Observatory says hundreds have been killed in Raqqa alone since June.