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U.S.-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State fighters in Syria attacking a town near the Turkish border for the first time Saturday, as well as positions in the country's east, activists and a Kurdish official said.
The Islamic State group's assault on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani has sent more than 100,000 refugees streaming across the border into Turkey in recent days as Kurdish forces from Iraq and Turkey have raced to the front lines to defend the town.
Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, said the strikes targeted Islamic State positions near Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, destroying two tanks. He said the jihadi fighters later shelled the town, wounding a number of civilians.
The United States and five Arab allies launched an aerial campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria early Tuesday with the aim of rolling back and ultimately crushing the extremist group, which has created a proto-state spanning the Syria-Iraq border. Along the way, the militants have massacred captured Syrian and Iraqi troops, terrorized minorities in both countries and beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker.
The latest airstrikes came as Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV that airstrikes alone "will not be able wipe out" the Islamic State group. Speaking from New York where he is attending the U.N. General Assembly, al-Moallem said in remarks broadcast Saturday that the U.S. should work with Damascus if it wants to win the war.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the coalition's strikes near Kobani came amid heavy fighting between the Islamic State group and members of the Kurdish force known as the People's Protection Units, or YPK. The Britain-based group, which relies on activists inside Syria, had no immediate word on casualties from Saturday's strikes. The Observatory reported Friday that 13 civilians have been killed by the strikes since they began.
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- The Associated Press