DAMASCUS Wholesale Chicago Blackhawks Jersey , Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The U.S.-led anti-terror coalition carried out several air strikes against positions of the Islamic State (IS) militants in their de facto capital of al-Raqqa in northern Syria on Friday, amid renewed Syrian welcome of Russia-sponsored peace efforts.
The U.S.-led coalition conducted about 14 air strikes against the outskirts of al-Raqqa and the Furusiyeh area between midnight Thursday and early Friday, with no news on causalities yet, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based watchdog group.
Al-Raqqa fell to the IS last year and the U.S. strikes repeatedly targeted the IS positions in that area Wholesale Carolina Hurricanes Jersey , which was declared by the group as their de facto capital in northern Syria.
Separately, the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on ground, said the IS' presence had largely declined in the predominantly Kurdish city of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobane Wholesale Calgary Flames Jersey , in northern Syria close to the Turkish borders.
The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said on TV that the Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG) had controlled 70 percent of that contested city.
The Observatory said an IS leader from a Gulf state was killed on Friday during clashes with the YPG in Ayn al-Arab, adding that intermittent clashes erupted between both warring camps on the outskirts of the city and the vicinity of the Rash Library in its southern part.
The anti-terror coalition also carried out two air strikes against the IS in the city, leaving unknown number of losses Wholesale Buffalo Sabres Jersey , according to the Observatory.
The U.S.-led alliance started targeting the IS in Syria in late last September, managing, even a little, to stem the expansion of that group.
Meanwhile, intense clashes renewed on Friday morning between Syrian troops and an array of jihadist militants in the suburb of Jobar in the eastern countryside of Damascus Wholesale Boston Bruins Jersey , according to the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV.
The government troops heavily shelled the rebels' positions in Jobar and detonated a number of tunnels the rebels had dug in that area to facilitate the flow of arms and fighters between rebel-held areas in the Eastern al-Ghouta countryside.
The Observatory also reported heavy battles in Jobar, adding that Lebanese Hezbollah militants are fighting alongside the Syrian troops there.
It said the Syrian troops fired at least one surface-to-surface missile on Jobar, adding that the rebels there fired a mortar shell that slammed into the Baghdad Street in the heart of the capital, with no causalities reported.
The Syrian troops have been engaged in battles against the rebels in Jobar since 2013. The military forces recently unleashed a wide-scale offensive to recapture the town after the rebels there posed a threat to the capital.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the frontlines in Jobar on the New Year's Eve to support his troops there and to showcase power and confidence at the start of 2015.
Other areas in eastern Damascus were subject to government shelling, such as the rebel-held city of Douma Wholesale Arizona Coyotes Jersey , said the Observatory, adding that the air force dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of the central province of Hama and near the military airbase of Abu Duhur in the province of Idlib.
The Observatory said 76,021 people were killed in 2014 alone, 33,278 of whom civilians. Previous reports placed the death toll during the nearly four-year crisis at over 190 Wholesale Anaheim Ducks Jersey ,000.
As the violence kept grinding on, Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said the Syrian government had approved to take part in the Russia-sponsored meeting with the opposition forces in Moscow, which showed the government's belief in the political process as the sole way to reach solutions.
In an interview with the national TV on Thursday, the minister said Syria's consent to attend the consultative and preliminary meeting in Moscow, slated for late January Cheap Vegas Golden Knights Jersey , comes in line with the government's main speech on the need to achieve a solution between the Syrians themselves without foreign pressures.
According to the state news agency SANA, al-Zoubi said the planned talks would pave the way for later steps that could include a dialogue conference between the Syrians.
The minister said that details of the upcoming meeting would be agreed on between the two countries and made public by Moscow.
Russia, Syria's main international ally, has recently started exerting efforts to establish a dialogue between the government and opposition parties, after previous talks in Geneva failed to bridge the gap between the both parties.
Marathon meetings have recently taken place between Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and government officials as well as opposition representatives to pave the way for a Russia-sponsored meeting.
Egypt has also returned under the spotlight Cheap Winnipeg Jets Jersey , appearing desirous of taking part in the Russian effort to push forward the political process in Syria.
Cairo has recently hosted a meeting between two of the major opposition groups, namely the domestically-tolerated National Coordination Body and the exiled Syrian National Coalition. The meeting aimed at drawing headlines ahead of Moscow's January meeting.
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