A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter reacts to a dead body east of Raqqa city, Syria March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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When Abu Ahmad stepped out of his house in Raqqa after a night of heavy airstrikes, he found several of his neighbors lying dead in the street.The U.S.-led coalition battling to defeat the ultra-hard-line militants in Raqqa says it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.The Kurdish-led SDF has said it is careful to safeguard civilians in Raqqa, which Daesh has used as a hub to plot attacks abroad.The United Nations estimates that 50,000 to 100,000 people are trapped in Raqqa.The U.S.-led coalition said before the assault on Raqqa that 3,000 to 4,000 Daesh militants were still there, even after leaders abandoned the city for territory further south.The SDF says that Daesh has heavily mined the old quarters of Raqqa and that the militants are doing most of their fighting at night without moving much in the daytime.
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