RAQQA PROVINCE, Syria Feb 4 An alliance of
U.S.-backed militias said it had begun a new phase of its
campaign against the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa on
Saturday and aimed to complete its encirclement.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement the
action was being undertaken with "increasing support from the
(U.S.-led) international coalition forces through guaranteeing
air cover for our forces' advances, or via the help provided by
their special teams to our forces on the battle ground".
(Reporting by Rodi Said; Writing by Tom Perry in Beirut;
Editing by Alexander Smith)