Armenian Families Rescued from ISIS in Syria

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Raqqa was once considered the capital of ISIS.

While the SDF is advancing inside Raqqa, the Syrian Army and tribal forces are fighting the extremist group in the countryside, coming close to the last Islamic State-held town of Madan in the city.

Separate contingents of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) ringing the Islamic State (IS) bastion of Raqqa have converged, dealing another sharp blow to the surrounded militants.

The report added that stiff resistance in Mosul - Iraq's second largest city which was declared "liberated" by the government in July - shows that the Daesh command and control structure "has not broken down completely", and remains "a significant military threat".

Dillon says the significance is that the SDF, despite IS' best efforts, have successfully battled across the entire city from both sides and have joined forces.

"Despite these fierce and suicidal tactics [of ISIS], the SDF continues to progress", Dillon said.

Smoke rises from Raqqa Syria
REUTERS Rodi SaidUS-Led Coalition Airstrikes Destroy Daesh Explosive Devices Factory Near Raqqa

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Cilvegozu crossing in southern Turkey would remain open for food, medicine and some supplies to go across.

The al-Qaida-linked militant group Levant Liberation Committee captured the crossing after battles with the ultraconservative Syrian rebel Ahrar al-Sham group last month.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency reported a three-kilometre tailback at the Oncupinar border crossing, located further east, after trucks were rerouted from Cilvegozu.

"The goal.is to stand up against Daesh, to stand up to them and tell them that the woman is strong", said new recruit Layla Hussein, using the Arabic acronym for Isis.

Beyond Europe, Daesh is seeking to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia, the report said, citing the southern Philippines where a bloody urban siege had killed nearly 700 people in more than two months fighting.

A third of the returnees said they went back to "protect their assets" while one-quarter cited "improved economic conditions", IOM said.

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