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Washington investigating alleged ISIS chemical attack

Kurds battling Islamic State militants fear the group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon.

Syrians check a damaged house, reportedly hit by US-led coalition air strikes, in the village of Kfar Derian in the western Aleppo province on 23 September, 2014. Picture: AFP.

SYRIA/TURKEY - Washington is investigating reports of Iraqi soldiers suffering the effects of a chemical attack at the hands of the Islamic State organisation.

Meanwhile, Kurds battling Islamic State militants for control of the Syrian border town of Kobani also continue to fear the extremist group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon against them.

Kobani is covered in smoke with planes circling overhead with the battle continuing between the ISIS fighters the Syrian Kurds who for more than a month have been trying to push the jihadists out of the city.

United States (US) war planes have been bombing for the last few hours and that is why the city itself is covered in smoke.

At the same time, Iraqi Kurdish forces will not engage in ground fighting in Kobani but provide artillery support for fellow Kurds fending off Islamic State militants there, a Kurdish spokesman said on Sunday.

Islamic State fighters have been trying to capture Kobani for over a month, pressing on despite US-led air strikes on their positions and the deaths of hundreds of their fighters.

The Kurds prepared to help their comrades in Syria as Iraqi government forces and Shi'ite militias advanced against the al Qaeda offshoot that wants to redraw the map of the Middle East.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in Syria's three-and-a-half-year-old conflict, said on Sunday it had confirmed that 815 people had been killed in the fighting for Kobani over the last 40 days - more than half of them Islamic State fighters.

The Kurdish region's parliament voted last week to deploy some of its peshmerga forces, which have been fighting their own battle against Islamic State in northern Iraq, to Syria.

"Primarily, it will be a back-up support with artillery and other weapons," Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesman Safeen Dizayee told Reuters. "It will not be combat troops as such, at this point anyway."

Islamic State militants shelled Kobani's border post with Turkey overnight but were repulsed by Kurdish fighters, Kurdish officials and a monitoring group said on Sunday.

"Of course they will try again tonight," said Idris Nassan, a local Kurdish official. "Last night they brought new reinforcements, new supplies, and they are pushing hard."