Islamic State defies air strikes
Islamic State fighters were undeterred by US-led air strikes, hitting the Syrian Kurdish town with shell fire.
- Islamic State
- Islamic State militants
- US airstrikes in Syria
- Hundreds of Syrian Kurds flee Islamic State attacks
- Iraq accuses Islamic State of Yazidi atrocity US make new strikes
- Obama pledges to fight build coalition Islamic State in Syria
- Australia raises threat level to high on Iraq Syria
BEIRUT/MURSITPINAR - New U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State fighters failed to stop them from pressing their assault on a strategic Syrian town near the Turkish border on Saturday, hitting it with shell fire for the first time.
The U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said the air strikes destroyed an IS building and two armed vehicles near the border town of Kobani, which the insurgents have been besieging for the past 10 days.
It said an airfield, garrison and training camp near the IS stronghold of Raqqa were also among the targets damaged in seven air strikes conducted by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, using fighter planes and remotely piloted aircraft.
Three air strikes in Iraq destroyed four IS armed vehicles and a "fighting position" southwest of Arbil, Centcom said. Two British fighter jets also flew over Iraq, a day after the UK parliament authorised bombing raids against IS militants there, but used the mission to gather intelligence rather than carry out air strikes, the ministry of defence said.
Since capturing swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq, Islamic State has proclaimed an Islamic "caliphate", beheaded Western hostages and ordered Shi'ites and non-Muslims to convert or die. Its rise has prompted President Barack Obama to order U.S. forces back into Iraq, which they left in 2011, and to go into action over Syria for the first time.
The U.S. military has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since 8 August and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday, in a campaign it says is aimed at "degrading and destroying" the militants.
Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, which lost scores of fighters in the first day of strikes there, accused Washington and its allies of waging "war against Islam" and said they would be targeted by jihadists around the world.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group that supports opposition forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Saturday's air strikes set off more than 30 explosions in Raqqa.
Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the British-based Observatory, said 23 Islamic State fighters were killed. He said the heaviest casualties were inflicted in attacks on an airport.
But the monitoring group said IS was still able to shell eastern parts of Kobani, wounding several people. It said that IS fighters had killed 40 Kurdish militia in the past five days in their battle for the town, including some who were killed by a suicide bomber who drove into its outskirts in a vehicle disguised to look as though it was carrying humanitarian aid.
The insurgents' offensive against the Kurdish town, also known as Ayn al-Arab, has prompted around 150,000 refugees to pour across the border into Turkey since last week.