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United Nations calls for humanitarian cease-fire in Raqqa, Syria

United Nations calls for humanitarian cease-fire in Raqqa, Syriaā€¯

He urged members from the Humanitarian Task Force, including the members of the Coalition that is supporting the retake of Raqqa, to "do whatever is possible to make it possible for the people to escape".

The UN on Thursday called for a humanitarian pause to allow 20,000 trapped civilians to escape the besieged Syrian city of Raqqah. In a report released Thursday evening ET, the aid group drew on almost 100 recent witness interviews to depict the nightmare confronting the up to 25,000 civilians still trapped in the city.

"Things will only get more risky as the battle reaches its final stages in the city center", Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's Senior Crisis Response Adviser said the same day.

"Losing a single civilian, to us, is a great loss", SDF media official Mustafa al-Bali told Syria Direct on Thursday.

The Syrian government has called United Nations to halt the U.S. led coalition's repeated attacks on its civilians during their ongoing operations in Raqqa.

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Coalition spokesman Col. Joe Scrocca said the coalition does "everything within our powers to limit harm" to civilians.

"The unfortunate death of civilians is a fact of war that weighs heavy on our hearts, however, if (IS) is not defeated the cost will be even higher, and it will be paid not just in Iraq and Syria, but in our homelands across the globe", Scrocca said.

Dozens of civilians are reportedly dead following USA -led airstrikes in Syria.

Despite numerous recent clashes between the United States forces and Russian allies in Syrian Civil War and other regional conflicts, the two countries' military leadership has been regularly communicating, US officials told Reuters News Agency. Russian Federation and the United States are the co-chairs of the taskforces and the ISSG, which also comprises the UN, the Arab League, the European Union and 16 other countries. The local forces are armed with 120 mm mortars.

Civilians in and around the city have been battered - not only by the ISIS militants who block their escape and use them as human shields, but also by airstrikes from those forces seeking to liberate them, according to Amnesty International.

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The coalition says it is very careful to avoid civilian casualties in its bombing runs against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, and investigates any allegations.

Thousands of people have been trapped inside the city by ISIS and are being subjected to indiscriminate artillery and mortar bombardment by US-backed coalition forces and airstrikes with banned cluster bombs by Russian-backed government forces, the report says. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured in attacks from all sides since these new offensives began.

Amnesty criticized the coalition for "poor reporting and inadequate investigation" of civilian casualties, saying they lack basic information on weapons deployed or visits to sites of attacks.

"By embedding themselves in civilian areas of Raqqa and using civilians as human shields, IS fighters are adding to their brutal track record of systematically and flagrantly flouting the laws of war", said Donatella Rovera.

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