U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Pound ISIS Near Syrian Border Town

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MURSITPINAR Turkey/BEIRUT — U.S.-led coalition jets pounded suspected ISIS targets at least six times in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Saturday after the fiercest shelling in days by the insurgents shook the town’s center and hit border areas within Turkey. Shelling continued after the strikes hit the center of Kobani. Several mortars fell inside Turkey near the border gate, called Mursitpinar, according to witnesses.

ISIS militants have battled Kurdish fighters for a month to take control of Kobani and consolidate a 60-mile-stretch of land they control along the Turkish border, but stepped-up air strikes in recent days have helped Kurds fend off the advance. The coalition has been bombing ISIS targets in Iraq since August and extended the campaign to Syria in September after ISIS, a group that espouses a rigid interpretation of Islam and initially focused on fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, made huge territorial gains.

On Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said U.S-led forces bombing ISIS in Syria killed 10 civilians in two separate air strikes. But U.S. Central Command said there was no evidence to back up the report. Its forces use mitigation measures to reduce the potential for civilian casualties, a spokesman said. Meanwhile, in Iraq, five airstrikes occurred south and west of Bayji and struck two ISIS units, destroyed one ISIS armed vehicle and damaged other equipment, U.S. Central Command said.


— Reuters