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US-backed fighters enter IS-held airport in Syria: spokesman

DAMASCUS: Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance on Sunday entered a military airport held by the Islamic State militant group in northern Syria, a spokesman said. The advance on Tabqa airbase comes as the alliance prepares an attack on IS's de facto Syrian capital Raqa, seeking to effectively surround the city before launching its assault. SDF forces are also battling for the nearby Tabqa dam, held by IS, which was forced out of service on Sunday after its power station was…

US-backed forces say operation to retake Raqqa from Islamic State has begun

RAQQA: US-backed rebels said on Sunday they were launching an operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. The attack ratchets up pressure on the militant group at a critical moment, with its fighters already battling an offensive by Iraqi security forces on their remaining Iraqi stronghold in the northern city of Mosul. The US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab armed groups, first announced on Sunday that a campaign to retake Raqqa would begin…