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By Alex Rossi, Senior Correspondent, in northern Syria

Refugees fleeing Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa have told Sky News the terror group is committing genocide as its grip on the city weakens because of coalition airstrikes.

We meet Mazlan, who has just fled from the city, in an area controlled by the secular People's Protection Units (YPG) - a Kurdish militia fighting IS.

He is terrified and will only speak to us wearing a disguise. He tells me IS fighters murdered his uncle after accusing him of being a spy.

:: Kurdish Forces 'Need Ammunition' To Fight IS

"They made a false accusation against him and they beheaded him and they didn't deliver us back his corpse - this is the hardest thing for me," he said.

"Always every day they make accusations. Atheist, or spy of the regime, so they can behead people. Thousands have been killed."

:: UN Targets Flow Of Money To Islamic State

Much of rural northern Syria is now deserted - broken and smashed up buildings litter the landscape.

It is, of course, the emptying of these places that set in motion Europe's refugee crisis.

But the displacement of civilians shows no end with another wave of refugees about to begin.

We meet another family who have also just escaped from Raqqa.

They also do not want to be identified, but told me conditions in the city are worsening because of the airstrikes and the price of bread is rising every day.

The sound of the coalition's jets is constant in these areas.

:: Kurds Killing 'Large Numbers' Of IS Fighters

IS are being bombarded daily and are continuing to lose territory. They are also being pushed back by Kurdish fighters.

Under cover of the jets' massive firepower, Kurdish troops have been able to mount a number of successful offensives in northern Syria to restrict IS supply lines.

YPG commander Lawand Rojava told me how they help coordinate the strikes by marking IS positions on the battlefield.

"Daesh (IS) is becoming weaker and weaker after our recent offensive in al Hawl (near the Iraqi border)," he said.

"They are retreating in large numbers - the era of their destruction has started."

It is far from clear how long IS will be able to hold territory while being attacked from every side.

But beating the ideology that gives rise to Islamic extremism and terror attacks around the world will be much harder to defeat.

Tag(s) : #Middle East

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