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This undated frame grab from video posted online Monday, May 29, 2017, by the Aamaq News Agency, a media arm of the Islamic State group, shows people inspecting damage from airstrikes and artillery shelling in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the IS. Airstrikes have intensified over the past days as U.S.-backed fighters have marched toward the city, getting closer to besieging it from all sides. (Aamaq News Agency via AP)

A US-backed Syrian force launched an assault on the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa

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A U.S. backed Syrian force announced Tuesday that it has begun an assault on the northern city of Raqqa, which is considered the de facto capital of ISIS, CBS News reported.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces had been advancing towards Raqqa since November, taking back wide swathes of land from extremist fighters. Last week, they made their way to the northern and eastern gates of the city.  

Were ISIS to look outside Raqqa's walls, they would see opposition forces on the city's northern, eastern and western sides. 

SDF fighters have reportedly been shelling the city since Monday night, killing 12 people in the process, although other reports put the number as high as 21. 

State-news agency SANA reported that families were fleeing the city in boats across the Euphrates river ahead of the expected invasion of the city. 

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