Iraqi government forces say they have paused their operation to retake Mosul from 'Islamic State' militants. The move follows concern from the UN over reports of a high number of civilian casualties in the fighting in recent days.
Syrian ground troops have been battling to take back the last urban area held by "Islamic State" (IS). Airstrikes and artillery have reportedly killed dozens.
US-backed coalition forces claim they are about to drive the "Islamic State" completely out of Raqqa. Local officials and tribal leaders have reportedly struck a deal to allow IS fighters and civilians to evacuate.
With a "hard core of foreign fighters," the notorious militant group has positioned itself for its last stand in Raqqa. The US-led coalition against "Islamic State" has rejected any negotiated withdrawal of militants.
The militant group had launched a desperate bid to make gains amid the Iraqi-led offensive to recapture Mosul. Human rights groups warned of mounting civilian casualties as the fight for Mosul enters its "final stages."
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