More than 40000 children at risk in Syria's Raqqa

Christina Abada was welcomed back by family and other well-wishers on Friday morning after she was rescued and released by Iraqi Special Forces. She was only three when she was originally abducted by ISIS from the city of Qaraqosh in 2014

Amid the advances, it was reported by local media activists and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that an internet cafe in Jazrah was hit in a coalition airstrike, killing 17.

He said part of the neighbourhood was under SDF control but US-led coalition planes were still carrying out strikes against IS fighters elsewhere in the district, one of the largest in Raqa.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces and their Syrian Arab Coalition partners launched the offensive to unseat ISIS from its so-called "capital" of Raqqa", the coalition said in a statement predicting that the offensive would deliver a "decisive blow" to the Islamic State.

Separately, the Russian military accused the US -led coalition of providing safe corridors for IS fighters to leave the area around Raqqa in an effort to prevent Syrian government forces taking territory. "It raises a question (about) why they do it and what their real goals are".

He called on all parties to provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city.

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Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said heavy strikes continued on Friday morning as the coalition tried "to undermine ISIS capacity and open the way for the SDF to advance further in the city's east and enter from other fronts".

Al-Meshleb was the first neighbourhood in Raqa city entered by SDF fighters.

SDF fighters were armed mostly with light weapons including Kalashnikovs, and were also returning mortar fire on IS positions.

They have also reportedly dug defensive trenches and tunnels to try to slow the SDF advance. The SDF has been closing in for months with the help of air strikes and special forces from the US -led coalition.

A Pentagon spokesman, Eric Pahon, said "hundreds" of United States military personnel were taking part in the Raqa offensive.

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Around 300,000 civilians were believed to have been living under IS rule in Raqqa, although thousands have fled in recent months leaving 160,000 in the city according to the UN. Putting troops physically within a city with an estimated 2,500 ISIS fighters, however, more or less guarantees they'll be involved in ground combat.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said Syrian regime ally Russian Federation helped prevent an escalation in hostilities between the coalition and the pro-regime forces.

Tensions around At-Tanaf have surged as pro-regime forces, including Iranian-backed militias, look to expand their influence.

Surovikin said the U.S-led coalition along with the allied Kurds "collude with the leaders of Daesh, who surrender the areas under their control and head to provinces where Syrian government forces operate".

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