Fresh US-led airstrikes have hit fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) near Kobane, carrying out six attacks to help Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian border town, the US military said.
US and allied bombers, fighter jets and robotic drones hit the ISIL group over a 24 hour period with four strikes south of the town, destroying an armored personnel carrier, three vehicles and an artillery piece, Central Command said in a statement on Wednesday.
A fifth raid southwest of Kobane destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle and a sixth strike decimated an artillery cannon on the “southern edge” of the town, it said.
Despite the airstrikes, ISIL fighters managed to push into parts of the town, located on the Syria-Turkish border, also known under its Arabic name of Ain Al-Arab.
An activist group said the strikes killed at least 45 fighters since late Monday, forcing them to withdraw from parts of Kobane.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday’s strikes targeted ISIL fighters east of Kobane and them to withdraw from several streets they had controlled earlier.
Meanwhile, an attack apparently carried out by Kurdish fighters inside the town destroyed a mosque minaret, which ISIL group had used as an outlook, activists said.
Heavy gunfire was heard from inside the town in a sign of fresh clashes on Wednesday. The Observatory said most of the fighting as in the town’s Kani Arban neighborhood.
Kobane has been under the onslaught of the ISIL group since mid-September whenISIL fighters launched their offensive in the area, capturing several Kurdish villages around the town and bringing Syria’s civil war yet again to Turkey’s doorstep.
The fighting has forced some 200,000 of the town residents and villagers from the area to flee and seek shelter across the frontier in Turkey. Activists also say that more than 400 people have been killed in the fighting.
ISIL has conquered vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, declaring a self-styled caliphate governed by its strict interpretation of Islamic teaching, or Shariah.