Fresh U.S. air strikes target ISIS in Kobane
A Kurdish official says ISIS now control less than 20 percent of Syria’s Kobane
U.S. fighter and bomber planes launched 14 air strikes against militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) near the embattled city of Kobane on Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. military's Central Command said.
The strikes appeared to have slowed the advance of ISIS militants, but “the security situation on the ground in Kobane remains tenuous,” the Central Command said in a statement.
The strikes “successfully” destroyed 19 buildings held by the militants, two command post and other fighting positions.
A Kurdish official in Kobane said Thursday that the air strikes have successfully pushed back ISIS militants from parts of the besieged Syrian town.
“The international coalition has fought ISIS more effectively during the last few days,” Idriss Nassen told AFP by telephone.
“Before they were in control of 30 percent of Kobane and now they control less than 20 percent thanks to the international coalition,” he said.
Nassen said Kurdish forces were “flushing out” ISIS fighters from the eastern and southeastern parts of the town on the border with Turkey, calling for more military assistance.
“We need more airstrikes, as well as weaponry and ammunition to fight them on the ground,” he said.
John Allen, a retired U.S. general coordinating the military campaign against ISIS, told reporters on Wednesday that the air strikes around Kobane were “for humanitarian purposes” only to relieve defenders of the town and give them time to organize.
“We are striking the targets around Kobane for humanitarian purposes. I’d be very reluctant to attempt to assign ... a term like ‘a strategic target,’ or ‘a strategic outcome,’” Allen said.
“Clearly ... given the circumstances associated with the defense of that town, there was a need for additional fire support to go in to try to relieve the defenders and to buy some white space, ultimately, for the reorganization on the ground,” he added.
“We have picked up the tempo and the intensity of the air strikes in order to provide that white space.”
(With AFP and Reuters]
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