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FILE PHOTO: A view of people at a damaged street in Deir al-Zor August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi/File Photo


BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces will launch an offensive to oust Islamic State from Deir al-Zor province "very, very soon", an official from the alliance told Reuters on Friday.

Ahmed Abu Khawla, head of the Deir al-Zor military council which fights under the SDF, said the assault might begin "within several weeks" in parallel with the battle for Raqqa city.

The SDF alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias has been fighting to seize Raqqa from Islamic State with the help of air strikes and special forces from the U.S.-led coalition.

(Reporting by Rodi Said and Ellen Francis)

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