The U.S.-led coalition warned civilians in Raqqa not to use boats to cross the Euphrates River in this leaflet dropped over the city.
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As U.S.-backed forces bear down on the de facto capital of Daesh (ISIS), the militants have taken their strategy of hiding behind civilians further than ever before, effectively using the entire population of Raqqa as human shields.Raqqa, a provincial capital on the northern bank of the Euphrates, is the next major battle against Daesh as Iraqi forces push to complete the recapture of northern Iraqi city of Mosul after nearly six months of fighting. For the Raqqa campaign, a multi-ethnic force of Syrian fighters, dominated by Kurds and supported by U.S. special forces, artillery and air power, have been maneuvering to isolate the city. Daesh has sent most of its European fighters out of Raqqa farther east to the region of Deir al-Zour, deeper into its shrinking territory, according to Tim Ramadan, an activist with the group Sound and Picture, who remains in Raqqa, and Eyas Dass, editor of Al Raqqa Post, an opposition website that documents atrocities by Daesh and the Syrian government.Battle-hardened Syrians and Iraqis are leading the defense in Raqqa, bolstered by reinforcements from those who withdrew from Mosul and other parts of Iraq.Airstrikes have also focused on the former base of the Syrian military's 17th Division, north of the city, now a major Daesh base.Fighters in Raqqa have started to move in with families to hide among civilians.
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