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US, Kurds strike at Islamic State in Syria

US warplanes attacked Islamic State targets in Syria overnight, in raids that a group monitoring the war said killed civilians as well as jihadist fighters.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, in an area controlled by Islamic State, killing at least two civilian workers.

Strikes on a building on a road leading out of the town also killed a number of Islamic State fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria.

The US military said today an American air strike overnight targeted Islamic State vehicles in a staging area adjacent to a grain storage facility near Manbij, but it had no evidence so far of civilian casualties.

While raids in Iraq and Syria have taken a toll on Islamic State equipment and fighters on the ground, there is no sign yet that the tide is being turned against the group, which controls large areas of both countries.

A US Air Force general said Islamic State militants are changing their tactics in the face of American air strikes in Iraq and Syria, abandoning large formations such as convoys that had been easier for the US military to target.

"They are a smart adversary, and they have seen that that's not effective for their survival, so they are now dispersing themselves," said Air Force Major General Jeffrey Harrigian at a Pentagon news conference.

This "requires us to work harder to locate them, and then develop the situation to appropriately target them", he said.

In a statement to the United Nations that appeared to give approval of US and Arab air strikes in Syria against the militants, Syria's foreign minister said his country backed the campaign against Islamic State.

Syria "stands with any international effort aimed at fighting and combating terrorism", said Walid al-Moualem, whose government has long been an international pariah because of what critics say is its brutality in a civil war that has killed 190,000 people.

The US-led strikes have so far failed to halt an advance by Islamic State fighters in northern Syria on Kobani, a Kurdish town on the border with Turkey where fighting over the past week caused the fastest refugee flight of Syria's three-year-old war.

At least 15 Turkish tanks could be seen at the frontier, some with guns pointed towards Syrian territory. More tanks and armoured vehicles moved towards the border after shells landed in Turkey.

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Tags:  Syria  Islamic State  US  attacks  





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