U.S. and allies step up air campaign against ISIS

Militants of Islamic State (IS) stand just before explosion of an air strike on Tilsehir hill near Turkish border on Oct. 23, 2014.

Militants of Islamic State (IS) stand just before explosion of an air strike on Tilsehir hill near Turkish border on Oct. 23, 2014.

The U.S. military and its allies have intensified air strikes to turn back the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, who are still hold large swathes in Syria and is advancing in several parts across Iraq, the U.S. Central Command said on Thursday.

A total of 15 strikes were staged against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, the Central Command said in a statement carried by Reuters.

The statement said U.S. fighter and bomber aircraft staged four strikes near the key border city of Kobane, destroying an ISIS control center and fighting positions in an area that has often been targeted this month, and two more that knocked out oil tanks east of Dawr Az Zawr.

Four air strikes by U.S. and allied forces in Iraq near the vital Mosul Dam hit small ISIS units and destroyed a vehicle while another attack near Bayji took out a fighting position. Four strikes in the Fallujah area targeted a training facility, a larger Islamic State unit and a building.

All aircraft involved in the strikes returned safely, the statement said.

The U.S. military admitted on Wednesday that a cache of weapons dropped over Kobane drifted off course and likely ended up in the hands of ISIS militants instead of Kurdish forces.

Officials said they had no reason to doubt the authenticity of a video posted online on Tuesday showing a masked gunman displaying a parachute and wooden crates full of grenades and rockets.

There are an estimated 2,000 Kurdish fighters battling ISIS in Kobane.

Long at odds with Kurds fighting for their own homeland, Turkey has said would allow passage for 200 Iraqi Kurd Peshmerga into the city, AFP reported.

 
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