In Syria, U.S.-backed troops captured a district of western Raqqa from ISIS over the weekend. The local journalistic group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently reports U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed at least five civilians on Saturday in Raqqa: a man named Khalil Al Sharabi, along with his wife, as well as another man named Khalil al-Bari, his wife and one of their sons. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have killed nearly 700 civilians in and around Raqqa since the campaign to take control of the city began in March.
Meanwhile, critics are warning that the United States is quietly expanding its military role in Syria, with an increasing number of strikes against the Syrian government. The U.S. has shot down at least one Syrian government plane and two Iranian-made drones this month. The dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Vali Nasr, warns, “We are sleepwalking into a much broader military mandate, without saying what we plan to do afterward.”