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Dozens dead in US-led strikes on jihadist-run Syrian prison

30 June 2017

A Kurdish sniper, reportedly targeting Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqa, laughed in the face of death after a gunshot cracked into a wall above her head, showering her with chunks of concrete.

Pro-Assad forces are seeking to maintain a strategic stronghold in southern Syria as they prepare for the anticipated struggle after the fall of ISIS's capital in the town of Raqqa - the fight to retake control of the fertile Euphrates River Valley.

The United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces warned Thursday of the prospect of fierce confrontation with the Turkish army in northwestern Syria if it attacks SDF areas, and said this would undermine the assault on Daesh (ISIS) at Raqqa. CNN broadcasted footage from the city's streets - take a look.

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) at an outpost near Manbij in the initial stage of their offensive against the ISIS-held town, February 2016. The US is also closely involved on the ground in Raqqa. "The closer we get the more complex it gets".

Ali Shervan, a Kurdish SDF fighter, told Kurdistan24: "The city centre is completely besieged, and our forces are fighting from all sides". In mid-June the United States shot down a Syrian warplane after it was accused of attacking the SDF.

Islamic State counterattacks west Mosul areas captured by Iraq
On Sunday, Iraq's armed forces blocked a major wave of attacks by Islamic State suicide bombers outside the Old City of Mosul . A US -led Arab-Kurdish coalition is closing in on the extremists as well in Raqqa, their final major holdout in Syria.

"We can understand and recognize concerns of our ally Turkey", says Dillon. "Those who think that they can deceive Turkey by making promises to "take back weapons given to the terror group" are making a major mistake and the damage has been done", Erdoğan said, referring to the assurances of Mattis in a letter to his Turkish counterpart Fikri Işık. Still, on June 18, a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Sukhoi Su-22 bomber that attacked U.S. -backed rebel forces.

But gains for Assad, who is being supported by Russian Federation, have allowed regime forces and Iran-backed militias to head towards areas where the coalition is operating.

The US keeps an aircraft carrier with dozens of F/A-18E fighters aboard in the Mediterranean about all the time and hundreds of F-15s and F-16s scattered around Turkey, Qatar, and Jordan.

At that point the Russians would have a moment to think very critically if they wanted to engage with the full might of the US Air Force after the eye-for-an-eye shoot downs.

Brett McGurk, the USA special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State visited north Syria on Wednesday and met the council planning to run Raqqa after its capture from the jihadists to assure it of support, one of its members said.

Dozens dead in US-led strikes on jihadist-run Syrian prison