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U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS at Kobani as Kurds make gains

U.S.-led forces conducted 10 air strikes against ISIS positions in Syria, mostly targeting the contested city of Kobani, and two strikes in Iraq since Monday, the U.S. military said.

By Monday, Kurdish forces had regained control of about 80% of the Turkey-Syria border town

Border country struggles to cope with more than a million refugees fleeing the Syrian civil warr 2:35

U.S.-led forces conducted 10 air strikes against ISIS positions in Syria, mostly targeting the contested city of Kobani, and two strikes in Iraq since Monday, the U.S. military said.

Eight air strikes near Kobani destroyed 14 ISIS fighting positions and a building, and they damaged a second building, the military said in a statement on Tuesday.
Smoke rises over Syrian border town of Kobani after an airstrike in October. Kurdish fighters say they have growing control over the previously ISIS-held town. (Reuters)

In Iraq, the strikes were near al Qaim and al Asad, according to the Combined Joint Task Force.

Kurdish fighters advanced in Kobani on Monday, capturing a vital zone that houses government buildings after heavy fighting with the militants, a Kurdish official and an activist group said.

The Kurds have been slowly advancing in Kobani with the support of Iraqi peshmerga forces.

The U.S.-led coalition has also played a key role, carrying out waves of airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria positions in and around the town.

Beheader gets beheaded

Meanwhile, a top figure in ISIS's self-declared police force, which has carried out beheadings, was himself found decapitated in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said.

The man was an Egyptian national and was known as the deputy "emir" of the al-Hesbah force in a Syrian province, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday.

His body, which showed signs of torture, was found near a power plant in al-Mayadeen city in the Deir-al-Zor province, the human rights group said, citing contacts in the area.

"We do not know whether Islamic State killed him or whether it was local people or other fighters," said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory, which reports on events in Syria through a network of contacts on the ground.

"Either way it is important, because he was a very important man," he said, adding that he believed it was the first time that an al-Hesbah member had been killed in this way.

Hundreds killed

ISIS launched its Kobani offensive in mid-September, and quickly overran much of the town as well as almost all of the surrounding villages.

Hundreds of fighters on both sides have been killed since then.

By Monday, Kurdish forces had regained control of about  80 per cent of the town of Kobani after pushing back ISIS fighters, a group monitoring the war said.

A week ago, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Kurdish fighters were in control of 70 per cent of the town.

With files from The Associated Press

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