A view of buildings destroyed during clashes between Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
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The ancient mud brick walls circling Raqqa's deserted old city are almost the only structure still intact.Raqqa, where Daesh plotted attacks abroad during its three-year rule, is almost captured in a months-old offensive backed by U.S. air cover and special forces.Raqqa's uncertain political future, as it comes under the sway of Kurdish-led forces which neighbor Turkey opposes and is still coveted by Syrian President Bashar Assad, is partly what has made coalition countries hesitate, diplomats say.A major bridge leading into eastern Raqqa lies collapsed after a coalition airstrike.The council said coalition countries were reluctant to aid the Raqqa council, made up of local engineers, teachers and doctors.The SDF, which for now controls much of Raqqa, is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, a foe of Ankara which is fighting its own Kurdish insurgency. Turkey opposes the YPG's role in capturing Raqqa.Council officials say Raqqa will be governed independently of a self-run administration for northeast Syria that is dominated by Kurds, but is expected to have close relations with it. For now, with Turkey's borders closed to SDF-controlled areas, aid to Raqqa comes via a longer route through Iraq's Kurdish region.
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