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Two American volunteers fighting alongside Kurds killed in assault on Raqqa

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Two American citizens and one British have been killed fighting against ISIS in Syrian town of Raqqa, their Kurdish commanders have said. Robert Grodt, 28 from Santa Cruz and 29-year-old Nicholas Warden, who claimed to be from Buffalo, New York, but was listed as coming from Fort Steward, Georgia were killed in an ambush.

The men are believed to have been taking part in a patrol in ISIS’s de-facto capital Raqqa when they were ambushed by militants. A YPG source to The Guardian that the patrol was a few miles from the city center when they came under heavy fire after a fighter triggered an explosion of an IED.

It is understood that ISIS militants opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. A British citizen, who was killed alongside Americans identified as Luke Rutter, 22, from Birkenhead. Rutter is thought to have left his home in April last year in order to travel to Syria, and enlisted with the People’s Protection Units, otherwise known as YPG, the following month. But rather than tell his family where he was going, Rutter instead told them he was going to join the French Foreign Legion.

In earlier interviews, both Americans spoke about their desire to defeat ISIS and forge ‘a more secure world’.

Grodt told the camera: ‘To my family, there are way too many of you to speak to individually, just know that I love you all and there’s a lot that goes unsaid. To my daughter – I’m sorry I’m not there and I will be making a longer video to go along with this. Just know that I love you all.’

Meanwhile, Warden added he joined YPG because of the ISIS attacks in Orlando, San Bernardino, Nice and Paris.

Western-backed coalition forces have been fighting alongside Kurdish militias to retake Raqqa since November last year. Having captured the surrounding villages, the coalition announced it was attacking Raqqa itself on June 6, completely cutting it off from the outside world just over two weeks later.

On July 3 the coalition fought its way into the Old City, breaking through a perimeter of ISIS defenses in a major advance. Raqqa, declared by ISIS as the capital of its so-called Caliphate, marks the terror group’s final stronghold in the Middle East following the fall of Mosul this week.

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War zone

Russian Airstrikes Destroy Nusra Front Attacking Military Police in Idlib

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The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video of Russian airstrikes that helped to check the US-initiated offensive by al-Nusra terrorists in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone and break the militants’ siege of a Russian military police unit encircled in the area.

The footage shows armed vehicles being ripped apart by missiles raining down on them by Russian strike fighters and helicopter gunships just as the Syrian Army launched a massive counterattack forcing the jihadists into a retreat.

The al-Nusra Front terrorists used artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles during their offensive to the north and northeast of the city of Hama in the Idlib de-escalation zone penetrating Syrian army defenses to a depth of some 12 kilometers (8 miles).

A statement by the Russian General Staff said that the militants’ attack was “initiated by US secret services to stop the successful advance of government troops to the east of Deir ez-Zor.”
The Americans deny the charges.

A 29-person strong Russian military police unit was encircled and repelled the terrorists’ attacks for several hours fighting alongside members of an allied local tribe until Russian Spetsnaz and Syrian Special Ops units, backed by the Su-25 strike fighters, came to the rescue breaking the enemy siege.

The terrorist offensive has largely been stopped, leaving 850 militants dead and 11 tanks, four armored vehicles and other military hardware completely destroyed.

The Syrian Army, supported by Russian warplanes, launched a counterattack and has almost completely reclaimed its positions in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

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War zone

Israel shot down Iranian-made drone flying near Syrian border

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The Israeli Defense Forces shot a Patriot surface-to-air missile at a Hezbollah-operated drone Tuesday that had crossed the “Bravo line” demarcating the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria, an IDF spokesman told the Jerusalem Post.

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis told the outlet the unmanned aerial vehicle took off from Damascus and began approaching Israel on an intelligence-gathering mission. The Raytheon missile successfully intercepted the drone after which it crashed in the Syrian town of Quneitra, according to the IDF official.

Iranian drones have proven to be a thorn in the side of the US Navy. F/A-18 Super Hornets attempting a landing on the deck of the USS Nimitz in early August, forcing the US jet to take evasive action.

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