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Multiple US airstrikes on "Islamic State" targets

The US military says multiple airstrikes have been carried out on "Islamic State" (IS) targets in Syria and Iraq. Activists say "small advances" have been made by Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian town of Kobani.

The US military's Central Command said US aircraft carried out 18 airstrikes on "Islamic State" (IS) positions near the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani on Tuesday and Wednesday.

US officials said several rebel positions were destroyed and 16 buildings, occupied by the militants, were hit in this latest operation to stop the advance of the IS group.

A further five strikes were carried out against IS targets in Iraq.

Battle for Kobani

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US Central Command said the bombing raids near Kobani were to support besieged Kurdish militia in the region.

Activists and the authorities reported that Kurdish fighters had made small advances following clashes with IS extremists in and around Kobani just hours after the US-led airstrikes.

Earlier, the Pentagon said 21 airstrikes against IS targets near Kobani overnight Monday marked the largest number in the region in a 24-hour period since the air campaign began in Syria last month.

US-Turkey relations strained

Türkei - Kampfflugzeug F-16

F-16 fighter jets took part in a raid on PKK targets inside Turkey's borders, October 13, 2014.

On Monday, Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish rebels inside its borders, defying calls from Washington to instead focus on the IS.

The strikes were the first against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets since a March 2013 ceasefire.

There had been increasing tension between Turkey and the PKK over Ankara's refusal to allow Turkish Kurds to leave the country to defend Kobani.

The fresh conflict between Ankara and the PKK also highlights the complicated position Turkey faces as it negotiates its role with the US and NATO allies fighting the IS.

The strikes came ahead of an October 15 deadline set by PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, for a roadmap to salvage the fragile peace process.

lw/jr (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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