Middle East Raqqa battle: Three journalists injured, including Kurdistan24 correspondent

An image from video posted online May 19 shows Islamic State fighters who recently joined the group receiving military training in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour

The Russian military has accused the US-led coalition in Syria of providing safe corridors for the ISIS group to leave the area around its stronghold of Raqqa.

Backed by US-led coalition air strikes, the Syrian Democratic Forces have spent months tightening the noose on IS-held Raqa and entered the city for the first time earlier this week from the east.

Tens of people were injured and the death toll could rise higher, he warned.

At least 15 civilians were killed in an air strike on an internet cafe, while at least eight more died in two dozen United States air raids.

The deaths come as US-backed fighters try to push further into Raqa, two days after finally entering the northern city.

Captured by the militants in 2014, Raqa became synonymous with Daesh atrocities including beheadings and public displays of bodies, and also emerged as a hub for planning attacks overseas.

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Reported civilian casualties in coalition airstrikes have swelled as the SDF has ramped up its offensive.

An estimated 300,000 civilians were believed to have been living under ISIS rule in Raqqa, including 80,000 displaced from other parts of Syria.

"Many are caught in the crossfire", said UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere.

He said that Syrian government troops had secured territorial gains in the southern Suwayda province near the Jordanian border, but encountered resistance from the US -led coalition.

Several hundred thousand civilians still live in the city.

The International Rescue Committee said this week it was "deeply concerned for the safety of civilians in Raqa", noting a drop in the numbers leaving the city.

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The SDF has scored a series of victories since launching its operation to take Raqa in November, including capturing the strategic town of Tabqa and its adjacent dam in May.

Lt. Gen Steve Townsend, the coalition's commanding general, said the twin offensives in Mosul and Raqqa could deal an important blow to Islamic State recruiting.

"We are accompanying SDF units moving in Raqa", he said, but "the SDF have the lead in the fight".

Iraqi forces backed by the coalition are also battling IS in Mosul, where the jihadists are now confined to a few neighbourhoods.

The development, if true, would mean Russian-backed pro-government forces have blocked the path of USA -backed opposition forces advancing north along the Iraqi-Syrian border, in the direction of the ISIS strongholds of Boukamal and Deir el-Zour, on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said Syrian regime ally Russian Federation helped prevent an escalation in hostilities between the coalition and the pro-regime forces.

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