The Latest: US-led coalition: 16 strikes near Syria's Raqqa

The Latest on developments in Syria, where U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters are pushing ahead in their offensive toward the Islamic State group's stronghold of Raqqa (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

The U.S. Central Command says aircraft of the American-led coalition have conducted 16 airstrikes in northern Syria, where Kurdish-led forces have launched an offensive aiming to liberate the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital.

Monday's command statement says the strikes hit near the Ein Issa area, north of Raqqa, and that they engaged 12 IS tactical units and destroyed six fighting positions, five vehicles and two vehicles rigged with explosives.

It says the airstrikes were conducted on Sunday, the day when a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syria Democratic Forces said they have started the march to liberate Raqqa.

Activists and SDF reported intense clashes on Monday north of Raqqa.


1:30 p.m.

U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian fighters are clashing with Islamic State militants north of Raqqa in Syria, a day after announcing the start of a campaign to liberate the city from the extremist group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says fighting was underway on Monday north of Raqqa between IS and members of a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syria Democratic Forces.

SDF says its fighters destroyed a vehicle rigged with explosives in a farm north of Raqqa, de IS de facto capital.

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency says IS militants hit an SDF armored vehicle north of Raqqa with a missile, killing everyone inside.

The United States, France and Britain have said they would provide air support for the Kurdish forces' offensive on Raqqa.