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US says 21 air raids slow IS advance near Kobane

THE LEVANT – US-led aircraft hammered Islamic State jihadists with 21 bombing raids near Kobane on Monday and Tuesday amid signs the strikes had “slowed” the group’s advance on the Syrian border town, the American military said.

In one of the heaviest bombardments so far against the Sunni jihadists encircling Kobane, coalition air strikes “destroyed” two IS staging locations, a building, a truck, two vehicles, three compounds and damaged several other targets, it said.

A separate air raid in eastern Syria struck a small oil refinery, it said.

“Indications are that air strikes have slowed ISIL advances” around Kobane, US Central Command, which is overseeing the air campaign, said in a statement.

“However, the security situation on the ground there remains fluid, with ISIL attempting to gain territory and Kurdish militia continuing to hold out,” it said, using another acronym for the Islamic State group.

The air strikes are designed to “interdict” IS reinforcements and resupply efforts as well as prevent the group from “massing combat power” against the Kurdish-held parts of Kobane, it said.

US fighter jets and bombers took part in the raids along with aircraft from Saudi Arabia, according to Central Command.

The IS group has steadily gained ground around Kobane and has reportedly captured nearly half of the town, which lies close to the Turkish border.

IS militants have also been advancing in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.

Central Command also said coalition warplanes carried out one air raid in Iraq in the past 24 hours, southwest of Kirkuk, destroying two IS vehicles.

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