Syria rebels 'take control' of IS-held airbase near Raqqa

But the fight for the dam, the biggest in Syria, forced it out of service on Sunday, risking risky rising water levels.

It said the militants are warning residents that the Taqba dam upstream on the Euphrates River is out of service, weakened by US-led coalition air strikes, and could collapse.

US-backed Syrian rebels are trying to capture Raqqa from IS.

The coalition is investigating this.

The newspaper said that the troops will help in the upcoming battle to oust IS from Raqqa, adding that U.S. Marines will be temporarily stationed at "an outpost from which they can fire artillery guns".

The push toward the Tishrin Dam came three days after US aircraft ferried Syrian Kurdish fighters and allies behind ISIS lines to spearhead a major ground assault on the IS-held town of Tabqa where the dam is located.

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The U.S. -led coalition also airdropped forces near the eastern city of Deir al-Zour last January, killing 25 IS militants.

The Syrian National Coalition said in a statement that it was "increasingly concerned" about civilian casualties in the campaign against the extremist group.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister of France, which is a member of the US -led coalition, said on Friday that the battle to recapture Raqqa was likely to being in the coming days.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, said a week-long campaign of US-led strikes on Tabqa and the western countryside of Raqqa province had killed at least 90 civilians, a quarter of them children, while injuring dozens.

Le Drian spoke on CNEWS television on Friday.

Online, experts say the upcoming battle for Raqqa is not yet a topic of discussion for the group's fighters or its supporters on forums or encrypted chat channels, with hardly any mention of the battle that awaits, despite the encroachment of the Kurdish and Arab fighters.

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UN-mediated talks between government and rebel representatives continued on Monday in Geneva, aimed at bringing an end to the war that has killed 320,000 people.

"This will be a very hard battle but essential".

The envoy, Staffan de Mistura, hosted Syrian ambassador Bashar al-Ja'afari at United Nations offices in Geneva for the talks set to take place over at least several days around issues of governance, elections, a new constitution, and the fight against terrorism.

Some 700 USA military advisers, Marines, and Rangers have entered Syria to support fighters battling IS militants.

"Hopefully there will be a new Astana meeting as soon as possible to control the situation, which at the moment is worrisome", said De Mistura.

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