Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqa are expected to fight to the death, but some local militants have surrendered recently as US-backed forces close in on their last strongholds, a US coalition spokesman said on Wednesday.

Colonel Ryan Dillon said officials in the Raqqa Civil Council, which is to govern the city after IS has been driven out, were working to negotiate the safe passage of thousands of civilians being held hostage.

But the coalition would not support any negotiated withdrawal of fighters, he said.

“The coalition would not be party to a negotiated settlement. (But) we’re jumping ahead of anything that’s being discussed right now … as (the council) try to get civilians out,” he told Reuters by phone.