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More airstrikes against 'IS' in Syria, Iraq

October 20, 2014

The United States and France have conducted airstrikes against "Islamic State" (IS) militants in Kobani and in northern Iraq, as the US began supplying Kurdish forces with weapons in the fight against IS.

Image: Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach

Airstrikes were carried out in the Syrian border town of Kobani, and in northern Iraq, as the US-led air campaign continued its mission to stem the spread of the IS jihadist group in the region.

In Syria, US strikes hit a "stray" resupply vehicle from the US airdrop of supplies earlier on Monday intended for Kurdish forces battling the militant group in Kobani. The US military said the strikes "prevented these supplies from falling into enemy hands."

IS fighters have for a month laid siege to Kobani, on the Turkish border, and only intense bombardments by US warplanes have halted their advance.

The strikes in Syria also destroyed IS fighting positions and one of the group's vehicles, according to US Central Command.

France conducts strikes in northern Iraq

Also on Monday, French fighter jets carried out a third round of airstrikes in support of Iraqi ground forces in the north of the country, the defense ministry said.

Two jets destroyed two pick-up trucks belonging to IS, which has seized vast swaths of Iraq and Syria over the past months.

"During an armed reconnaissance mission in the Tikrit region 200 km (124 miles) north of Baghdad, mobile targets were transmitted to flight crews," the ministry said on its website.

"After they were identified and confirmed as hostile by pilots, they were targeted with three laser-guided GBU 12 bombs."

PM: 'No foreign troops in Iraq'

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Monday ruled out any foreign ground intervention to assist government forces in retaking territory lost to the jihadists.

Abadi was speaking in the city of Najaf after a rare meeting with the most revered figure among Iraqi Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and before a trip to neighboring Iran.

"No ground forces from any superpower, international coalition or regional power will fight here," Abadi told reporters.

Some officials and Sunni tribal leaders in areas most affected by the unrest have argued the world should step up its involvement from airstrikes to a ground intervention.

Abadi was due to travel to Iran later on Monday for talks on IS, which has since June seized control of parts of Iraq and brought it to the brink of collapse.

IS fighters hold towns just a few miles (kilometers) from the Iranian border, and Tehran has been reported by senior Kurdish officials to have deployed troops inside Iraq.

Major General Qassem Suleimani, the chief of Iran's elite Quds Force, has been spotted in Iraq, where it is believed to play a key role in coordinating Iraqi military operations.

glb/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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