Smoke rises after an air strike during fighting between members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria, August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
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Dozens of civilians have died in two days of intense U.S.-led strikes on Raqqa, an activist group said Tuesday, as fighting to retake the Syrian city from militants nears its densely populated center.The coalition acknowledges it has pounded the city and surrounding area with more than 250 airstrikes over the past week alone, in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance battling Daesh (ISIS).Monday, U.S.-led airstrikes killed at least 42 civilians in several neighborhoods in Raqqa under Daesh control, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.The Observatory says 167 civilians have been killed in coalition strikes since Aug. 14, including 27 Sunday.Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said more than 250 strikes had hit Raqqa and its surroundings in the last week, and an AFP count of the coalition's own reporting put the figure at over 300 strikes.The coalition, which operates in both countries, earlier this month acknowledged the deaths of 624 civilians in its strikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014, but rights groups say the toll is much higher.
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