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Iraqis demonstrate against Islamic State and its militants in Erbil, in northern Iraq, on September 23.
Iraqis demonstrate against Islamic State and its militants in Erbil, in northern Iraq, on September 23.

IS Monitor

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-- There were reports of clashes between Islamic State fighters and Kurdish forces as IS troops advanced toward Kobane on Thursday. Sources in Kobane reported shelling or tank fire in the vicinity of the town, although the YPG said they had pushed back IS to within around 10 kilometers of the town overnight on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Kurdish YPG has said that it is willing to cooperate with the U.S.-led coalition and provide intelligence about IS positions.

-- Iranian President Hassan Rohani told the UN General Assembly that the West was responsible for creating "terrorist havens" in Syria, the Caucasus, and elsewhere.

-- U.S., Saudi, and United Arab Emirates warplanes carried out further air strikes against 12 Islamic State targets in Syria, targeting oil refineries in the east of the country. The refineries were used by the Islamic State to gain revenues to fund its operations in Syria and Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

-- The U.S. State Department has named 12 groups and individuals it says are backing terror in Syria. The named groups include the Chechen-led faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, which considers itself to be a Syrian branch of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist group.

-- Kurdish refugees who fled from the border town of Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish) to southeastern Turkey to escape Islamic State militants have started to return home, despite reports that IS is still advancing toward Ayn al-Arab.

Clips Show More Anti-IS Missions

Video footage posted by a Syrian opposition group on Thursday evening claims to show a warplane from the "Crusader Alliance" (i.e. the U.S.-led coalition against IS) flying above the village of Kfar Takharim in Idlib Province.

The activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently also tweeted about another air strike against IS in Abu Kamal in Deir Ezzor province.

Rohani Says 'Blunders' Created Mideast 'Terrorist Havens'

Iran's Rohani Blames Extremism On Intelligence Agencies
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Iranian President Hassan Rohani accused the West of "blunders" that led to the creation of "terrorist havens" in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and elsewhere.

Rohani's office live-tweeted the president's remarks, made in an address to the UN General Assembly, in which he said that "certain intelligence agencies" -- almost certainly a reference to the CIA -- had "put blades in the hand of madmen, who now spare no one."

The Iranian president echoed the view of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has frequently said that Islamic State is a U.S. creation designed to help fight Iran's ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Rohani told the UN that "experience of the creation of modern extremist groups" showed that these factions cannot be used "to counter an opposing state."

He also blamed the Western media for repeating the "false claim" that IS is an Islamic group:

Fars News, close to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, posted the full text of Rohani's speech in English.

In an editorial earlier today, Fars said that the U.S.-led coalition against IS was a cover for a plan to expand U.S. influence in the region and partition Syria and Iraq.

Video Boast Of Purported Tank Hit

Kurdish sources are sharing this claimed footage of an IS tank destroyed by the Kurdish YPG on the southern front of Ayn al-Arab (Kobane):

Iran: 'Britain Helped Create IS'

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has criticized U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron after comments he made during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Cameron said that Iran could be part of a coalition against IS, but said that "Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its nuclear program, its treatment of its people" were points of contention.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham responded on September 25 by saying it was "unfortunate that London, which helped engender ISIS, is now making irrelevant statements against a country that has always pioneered the fight against terror."

Reports Of Shelling, Smoke Near Kobane

There are several reports of shelling or heavy gunfire near the town of Ayn al-Arab/Kobane on the Syrian border with Turkey.

Danish reporter Puk Damsgard tweets:

Freelance reporter Kurt Pelda and Ruptly's Lizzie Phelan report seeing smoke rising outside Kobane:

The news of the possible shelling comes amid reports that IS fighters have advanced to within around 5 kilometers of Kobane.

YPG 'Ready To Give U.S. Intel On IS'

The Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Ayn al-Arab have said they are willing to provide the United States and allies with intelligence to help it strike against IS in the area.

In a press statement, YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said that U.S. air strikes against IS in Ayn al-Arab were very useful but "came too late." The YPG said it would prove coalition forces with information about IS troop movements and about IS bases that had been abandoned.

Kurdish activists are reporting that coalition strikes hit areas around Kobane, close to the border with Turkey, on Wednesday night (September 24).

Map: Ayn Al-Arab On The Brink

Syria Direct tweeted this map showing the situation in Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), where Islamic State fighters are directing troops.

Kurdish news sources report clashes between IS fighters and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) around 7 kilometers from Kobane:

U.A.E. Pilot Mariam al-Mansouri Trends On Arab Social Media

Photographs of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) fighter pilot Major Mariam al-Mansouri continue to trend on Arabic social media and in the Arab press.

Mansouri, the U.A.E.'s first female fighter pilot, commands a squadron of F-16s and led the U.A.E.'s air strikes on the Islamic State in Syria.

Pan-Arab news outlet Elaph writes that 35-year-old Mansouri was raised in Abu Dhabi and always dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot.

UN Slams IS Execution of Iraqi Women's Rights Lawyer

The UN's human rights commissioner, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, has condemned the Islamic State's execution of Iraqi human rights defender Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy.

Nuaimy, a lawyer who promoted women's rights, was publicly executed by a firing squad in central Mosul earlier this week. Her execution came days after the Islamic State detained her on September 17, after comments were posted on her Facebook page criticizing IS. Before her execution, Nuaimy was convicted of "apostasy."

"This horrifying public execution -- of a courageous woman whose only weapons were the words she used in defense of the human rights of others -- lays bare the bankrupt ideology of ISIL and its affiliates," High Commissioner Zeid said in a statement.

Amnesty International's Kristyan Benedict tweeted this image of Nuaimy:

Iranian Grand Ayatollah: IS Not Islamic

Iran's Grand Ayatollah Alavi Gorgani has said that Islamic State's actions have no basis in Islam, state news agency IRNA reports.

Gorgani, a prominent religious scholar from Qom and a leading critic of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Islam was a religion of mercy and compassion, and that IS's brutal terrorist acts were giving Islam a bad image.

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