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Fresh Air Strikes Against IS Near Kobani


Smoke rises above the west of Kobani after a suspected U.S. air strike on October 8.

Smoke rises above the west of Kobani after a suspected U.S. air strike on October 8.

The U.S. military and allied nations have carried out eight air strikes on Islamic State targets near the embattled Syrian city of Kobani.

In a statement issued late on October 8, U.S. Central Command said all indications suggest the city near the border with Turkey still remains under control of Kurdish militia.

It added the strikes destroyed several Islamic State targets, including five armed vehicles, a supply depot, a command and control compound, and eight occupied barracks.

Earlier, Kurdish fighters inside Kobani had told the Reuters news agency that IS militants had launched a fresh assault on the city, moving into two eastern districts.

The Pentagon acknowledged that Kobani could still fall and said the Islamic State militants could seize additional territory elsewhere.

Islamic State has been advancing on the town from three sides and pounding it with artillery despite dogged resistance from heavily outgunned Kurdish forces.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry argued the loss of Kobani would not be a strategic defeat in the two-month-old U.S. air campaign to "degrade and defeat" IS.

"As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani ... you have to step back and understand the strategic objective," Kerry said.

Hours later, U.S. President Barack Obama sounded a more upbeat note.

Meeting with his top military brass in Washington, Obama said he was confident the United States will keep making progress against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey's failure to come to the aid of Kobani has sparked protests across the mainly Kurdish southeast, as well as in Istanbul and in Ankara.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara that 19 people were killed and 145 wounded in riots across Turkey.

He vowed that Turkey's own peace process with Kurdish separatists would not be wrecked by "vandalism."

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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