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Civilians flee Raqqa as coalition forces close in

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 01:25

Islamic State militants in Raqqa are passing themselves off as civilians to try to avoid intensifying air strikes and shooting anyone caught trying to escape their Syrian bastion as U.S.-backed coalition forces close in, witnesses said. Emily Wither reports.

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Islamic State militants are said to be posing as civilians and shooting anyone caught trying to escape Raqqa. The tactic a sign of increasing desperation as air strikes intensify and U.S.-backed coalition forces close in on their de-facto capital in Syria. These people have made it to a camp just north of the city - they bring tales of widespread destruction This man telling Reuters the militants dug tunnels in their homes. U.N. war crimes investigators say the air campaign has killed at least 300 civilians in the city. The escapees talk of entire rows of apartment blocks flattened - with people trapped underneath. Raqqa has been under Islamic State control since 2014. The pressure is taking a heavy toll on the group that is also on the brink of losing Mosul in neighboring Iraq. One resident saying fighters have been using loudspeakers in the street telling people not to go with the infidels but to stay with Islam. They burned cars and shot people trying to leave. It's estimated there are three to four thousand militants holed up in the city. People that have fled warn the streets have been laid with landmines and houses booby trapped.

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Civilians flee Raqqa as coalition forces close in

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 01:25