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Islamic State fighters advance in Syria despite US strikes

US planes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria for a second day, but the strikes did not halt the fighters' advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded.

British Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament to vote on Friday on whether to join the air strikes. He said in an address at the UN that a comprehensive strategy was needed to combat Islamic State.

"Our strategy must work in tandem with Arab states, always in support of local people, in line with our legal obligations and as part of a plan that involves our aid, our diplomacy and, yes, our military," Cameron said at the UN.

"We need to act and we need to act now," he said.

Syrian Kurds said Islamic State had responded to US attacks by intensifying its assault near the Turkish border in northern Syria, where 140,000 civilians have fled in recent days in the fastest exodus of the three-year civil war.

Washington and its Arab allies killed scores of Islamic State fighters in the opening 24 hours of air strikes, the first direct US foray into Syria two weeks after Obama pledged to hit the group on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.

However, the intensifying advance on the northern town of Kobani showed the difficulty Washington faces in defeating Islamist fighters in Syria, where it lacks strong military allies on the ground.

"Those air strikes are not important. We need soldiers on the ground," said Hamed, a refugee who fled into Turkey from the Islamic State advance.

Mazlum Bergaden, a teacher from Kobani who crossed the border today with his family, said two of his brothers had been taken captive by Islamic State fighters.

"The situation is very bad. After they kill people, they are burning the villages.... When they capture any village, they behead one person to make everyone else afraid," he said. "They are trying to eradicate our culture, purge our nation."

Fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurds could be seen from across the border in Turkey, where the sounds of sporadic artillery and gunfire echoed around the hills.

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Tags:  US  Obama  Syria  attacks  airstrikes  





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