Group calls for protecting civilians in Syrian IS group-held city

AP , Tuesday 13 Jun 2017

A human rights watchdog has urged the U.S.-led coalition battling to capture the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa to make the protection of civilians its priority in the campaign.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch says in a statement released on Tuesday that the United States and the local partner forces on the ground must respect human rights and rights of everyone caught up in the battle.

It also urged the U.S. to investigate airstrikes that have allegedly targeted civilians, respect detainee rights, provide safe passage for displaced and intensify efforts to clear land mines.

The U.S. is providing ground and air support to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the battle for Raqqa, which has since 2014 been the Islamic State group's main base in Syria.

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