Airstrikes on Islamic State-held Syrian city kill 12

Coalition forces will fight "side by side" with SDF troops while jets bomb ISIS targets from above, the spokesperson added.

His soldiers on Tuesday were around 70 kilometres (40 miles) from Raqa city, into which the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces thrusted earlier in the day. Turkey has been conducting genocide against the Kurdish since 1984 while the world did nothing.

"We have there assisting in this battle Marine M777 howitzers, which are providing a significant enabling capability to our special operations forces and partners on the ground", Davis said, adding that USA attack helicopters, AH-64 Apaches, are also being used.

Turkey's Prime Minister said his country will respond if the offensive to recapture Raqqa poses a security threat to Turkey.

Speaking to deputies from the ruling AK Party after the SDF said they had launched their battle for Raqqa, Yildirim said Turkey was taking the necessary measures on the issue. A belt of land mines and militant checkpoints circle the city.

"Fighting continues in eastern Raqqa city and warplanes are striking", he said.

This "may indicate ISIS intends to use the 200,000 people still trapped in the city as human shields", the aid group said, using another acronym for IS. It said SDF fighters captured several buildings in Mashlab.

A US-led coalition air strike killed 21 civilians on Monday as they tried to escape Raqqa, SOHR said.

According to the United Kingdom -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the SDF has been repairing bridges across the Euphrates River in preparation for the attack on Raqqa.

The battles are coupled with intense and heavy shelling by the USA -led coalition's warplanes, and artillery shelling by the SDF, the Observatory said. It said they were likely carried out by the US-led coalition.

Davis admitted that most of the leadership and bureaucratic functions and propaganda organs of IS had already moved out of Raqqa down the Euphrates River Valley to Mayadin and Deir al Zour, estimating only several hundred fighters remaining in the city.

Since November, the USA -backed troops have been attempting to isolate the city in preparation for the start of the operation to take control.

An Arab group fighting with the SDF, the Syrian Elite Forces, which was established in February, had entered al-Mishlab with coalition air support, its spokesman Mohammed al-Shaker said by phone.

As the SDF has drawn closer to the city, reports of civilian casualties in coalition air strikes have swelled.

The Raqqa fight also poses complications among North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

After three years, ISIS is firmly entrenched in Raqqa.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces are steadily routing Islamic State from its last redoubt in the city of Mosul, the largest city the group had controlled in Iraq.

The militants' "weapon of choice" is the armored vehicle bomb, driven by a suicide attacker at defensive positions or concentrations of forces, Dillon said. Today, June 6, the SDF broke into the east edge of the city for the first time and are fighting street battles inside the city.

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