BBCI: Syria war: United Nations urges pause in assault on IS bastion Raqqa

The Ministry said that warplanes of the alleged coalition continued to target Syrian civilians and destroy infrastructure, in addition to the use of internationally- banned white phosphorus bombs which constitutes a flagrant violation of the rules of the UN Charter and the worldwide law.

"It is imperative that all the parties to the conflict take all feasible precautions to minimise harm to civilians, including ending the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated civilian areas, in compliance with the prohibition on indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks".

On Tuesday, more than 40 people were reportedly killed in a single incident when a coalition airstrike allegedly struck a residential building near the city's amusement park, citizen journalist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reported via messaging app Telegram.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the USA commander of the operation against ISIS, told reporters earlier this week that it would not be surprising to see increased civilian casualties since the operation's start.

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". "We had no food, no electricity", a former Raqqa resident told Amnesty, one of 98 displaced individuals it spoke to in northern Syria.

The SDF is believed to have captured more than half the city.

"There has been no military in the world's history that has paid more attention to limiting civilian casualties and the deaths of innocents on the battlefield than the coalition military, here in the last years, when precision gave us options that we never had before in history", Mattis said.

The SDF surrounded and isolated Raqqa, considered the Islamic State's Syrian capital, before launching its offensive to recapture the city - similar to what Iraqi security forces are doing in their ongoing offensive toward Tal Afar.

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Syrian troops encircled ISIL fighters in Akerbat, according to Russian officials.

Amnesty said residents had told it that air strikes had hit camps where people had fled the fighting.

Numerous recent escapees told Amnesty International how these relentless and often imprecise attacks resulted in a surge of civilian casualties in recent weeks and months. "It targeted a civilian neighborhood and the close-by areas", he said.

Mahmouda, a resident who fled the Daraiya area, told Amnesty International: "It was a bad situation ..."

"The fight has now entered the very hardest parts of the city", Townsend told reporters, "and so our partners are needing greater assistance".

"It's probably logical to assume there has been some increase in civilian casualties".

It's not known exactly how many civilians remain trapped in Raqqa and other ISIS-controlled areas around the city.

Amnesty said the United States has been providing artillery support, using Howitzers which fire 155 mm shells and GPS-directed 227 mm mortars, for the Kurdish-led Syrian forces it backs on the ground.

  • Megan Austin