US-backed Syrian fighters pressure IS militants in Raqqa

BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-backed Syrian fighters advancing from eastern and western parts of the northern city of Raqqa have linked up for the first time in weeks after launching their offensive against Islamic State group fighters there.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched a wide offensive to capture IS's de facto capital of Raqqa on June 6. Since then, SDF fighters have captured half the city under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted that SDF forces have linked up "East-West axes" in Raqqa and are continuing to pressure IS.

Mustafa Bali, who heads the SDF media center, also confirmed Friday that SDF fighters pushing from opposite sides of the city have met.