Internally displaced children who fled Raqqa city play in a camp in Ain Issa, Raqqa Governorate, Syria April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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In a muddy camp in northern Syria, civilians who fled Raqqa said fear of an expected U.S.-backed assault on Daesh (ISIS) bastion was reaching a fever pitch. This week, hundreds of civilians escaped Raqqa and headed north to the camp in Ain Issa, in territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed Arab-Kurdish alliance.As part of their campaign to capture Raqqa, the Syrian heart of the militants' so-called "caliphate," the SDF have been bearing down on the Daesh-held Tabqa Dam over the past 10 days.Syria's conflict began in 2011 with anti-government protests, but has since turned into a multifront war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes.Since March 21, the battle for Tabqa Dam and the adjacent town has killed at least 110 civilians and 68 militants, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
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