United Nations plea to let civilians escape from Syrian city

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Ongoing and heavy fighting has displaced thousands of families from Raqqa city and Deir-ez-Zor. After the incident, Moscow publicly warned it would consider any planes flying west of the Euphrates River to be targets, but the USA forces mainbtained their presence in the area. USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said those were not the only aircraft in the area. Didn't the SDF and the coalition know that the place was full of civilians?

In early June, the US-led coalition launched a military campaign aimed at retaking the city, the capital of Daesh's self-proclaimed "caliphate".

The taskforce includes several nations supporting the SDF, including the United States.

The London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that over 170 civilians, mainly women and children were killed in USA air strikes in Raqqa since the beginning of the week. At least 30 civilians were killed in that campaign, it said.

It called on the coalition to establish a more transparent and independent reporting procedure.

Dozens of civilians are reportedly dead following US -led airstrikes in Syria. Photo courtesy of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The line runs in an irregular arc from a point southwest of Tabqa east to a point on the Euphrates River and then down along the Euphrates River in the direction of Deir al-Zor, they said.

Smoke rises after an air strike during fighting between members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria August 15, 2017.

In the past two weeks, US-led coalition aircraft conducted at least 592 airstrikes in Raqqa city, according to daily strike release reports.

Report: US-Led Airstrikes Kill 167 Civilians in Syria

A USA coalition commander, Stephen Townsend, told The New York Times in July that his forces "shoot every boat we find". Inside the city, however, conditions are "very bleak" and "it is very hard to assist".

"The thing that has really got us troubled is how confident the United States, Britain and the rest of the coalition is with this situation", said Woods, of Airwars. "We do not request that airplanes bomb an area or position, no matter its military importance, if there is a single civilian there".

Meanwhile there are reports of mass exodus of civilians from Raqqa while fire coming from all sides. Yet a handful of organizations are still documenting civilian deaths on a daily basis.

Raqqa residents fleeing IS-held areas reach SDF positions on Tuesday. "More can and must be done to preserve the lives of civilians trapped in the conflict and to facilitate their safe passage away from the battleground". "It is with the Russians, is who we're dealing with", Mattis said.

"It's significant that he identifies his father as a former USA soldier and makes an overt threat to Trump", Georgia State University Professor Mia Bloom said. "We are the good guys and the innocent people on the battlefield know the difference", he said. If they are not liberated they will surely die at the hands of ISIS or from starvation.

Both Mattis and the commander of the US -led coalition to defeat ISIS, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, pointed to the tendency of the Sunni jihadists to use civilians as human shields, as the battle to dislodge the group from its Syrian "capital" continues into its third month.

While the coalition has not yet published the number of civilian casualties in Raqqa due to air strikes, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve's commander, acknowledged the Pentagon was aware of the reports.

Some 55 percent of those reported deaths occurred in the first seven months of the Trump administration alone.

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