US bombs 'stall ISIL advance in Kobane'

US says air strikes on ISIL targets near Kobane in northern Syria slowed the rebel group's bid to capture the town.

    The US has launched 18 air attacks on ISIL targets around Kobane, allowing Kurdish fighters retrieve ground in the Syrian border city. 

    The attacks in the early hours of Wednesday were a second night of intensified bombing of ISIL positions, as US commanders said the campaign was slowing ISIL's advances.

    The US central command said multiple ISIL fighting positions, including sixteen buildings occupied by the group, were destroyed. It gave no estimate of casualties among the group's fighters.

    Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from the Turkish town of Urfu, overlooking Kobane, said: "For the weeks we've been here, we have been reporting gunfire and artillery fire. This stopped today." 

    "There has been no artillery fire and hardly no gunfire, which have been replaced by the sound of air strikes. The attacks have had a real impact on ISIL's ability to gain ground in Kobane."

    Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, has been the scene of weeks of fighting, which has driven most of its 400,000 Kurdish residents across the border in to Turkey.

    Syrian and Turkish Kurds have held protests in Turkey, accusing Ankara of watching as ISIL fighters take their homeland. 

    Al Jazeera's Smith said that Ankara had made no secret of its belief that "ISIL is not the biggest problem and that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is as big a problem as ISIL in Syria".

    US central command also said US aircraft also launched five raids on ISIL in Iraq overnight - one near the Haditha dam northwest of Baghdad and four near Bayji, north of Baghdad.


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