The Latest: UN official urges protection of Raqqa civilians
Posted August 31
BEIRUT — The Latest on developments in (all times local):
The U.N. human rights chief is urging the U.S.-led coalition and other forces fighting in Raqqa against the Islamic State group's "murderous regime" to do more to protect civilians from airstrikes and other firepower.
Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein expressed concern that "forces involved in battling ISIL are losing sight of the ultimate goal of this battle."
There are some 20,000 civilians trapped in the Syrian city.
Al-Hussein's office said Wednesday that total civilian casualties from airstrikes and ground-based strikes on Raqqa are difficult to count, but that it was a "large number."
It tallied 151 civilian deaths from six incidents in which at least six civilians were reportedly killed this month.
Zeid also expressed concerns about the city of Deir el-Zour to the southeast, predicting it will be "the next big battle" after Raqqa.
The media arm of Lebanon's Hezbollah says the group has received the body of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard member recently captured and killed by the Islamic State group.
The handover of Mohsen Haji's body is part of a controversial deal brokered by Hezbollah to clear IS fighters from an area along the Lebanon-Syria border.
Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said Thursday that Haji's body was received by the group and is now awaiting a DNA test before being sent to Iran.
U.S. airstrikes blocked the advance of an IS convoy carrying militants toward Iraq on Wednesday, derailing the Hezbollah-negotiated deal that removed some 600 extremists and civilians from the Lebanon-Syria border.
The evacuation agreement had angered many Iraqis, who accused Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah of dumping the militants on the Iraqi border.