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US-led airstrikes pound Islamic State targets in besieged Syrian town

Despite the airstrikes, the Islamic State fighters managed to capture a police station in the east of the town,

By: Associated Press | Mursitpinar |
Updated: October 9, 2014 2:47:09 pm

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The US-led coalition pounded positions of the Islamic State group in the Syrian border town of Kobani on Thursday in some of the most intensive strikes in the air campaign so far, a Kurdish official and an activist group said.

But despite the airstrikes overnight and into Thursday morning, the Islamic State fighters managed to capture a police station in the east of the town, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The militants now control more than third of the strategic border town, said the Observatory, a group that tracks Syria’s civil war through a network of activists on the ground.

The Islamic State group launched its offensive on Kobani in mid-September, capturing several nearby Kurdish villages and bringing Syria’s civil war yet again to Turkey’s doorstep. It has since steadily been tightening its noose around the town.

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The fighting has forced at least 200,000 town residents and villagers from the area to flee across the frontier into Turkey.

However, Idriss Nassan, an official with the town’s Kurdish government, denied the militants were in control of a third of the town on Thursday.

He confirmed that the Kobani police station was taken by the Islamic State group but he said it was later destroyed in an airstrike. He said the Kurdish fighters managed to regain several other town areas on Thursday.

“I can confirm that they don’t control a third of the city. There is only a small part of Kobani under the control of Daesh,” said Nassan, using the Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State group.

Both Nassan and the Observatory said more than 20 airstrikes have been conducted in the area since Wednesday afternoon.

The Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdurrahman, said that more than 500 people have been killed in and around Kobani since the fighting there began.

The Islamic State group brought reinforcements from their stronghold in the border town of Jarablous and the town of Manbij and Aleppo province, he said.

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