US-led strikes kill more than 500 Syrian militants

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Mursitpinar (Turkey) (AFP) – US-led air strikes in Syria were reported Thursday to have killed more than 500 jihadists in a month, as Kurdish fighters readied to reinforce the embattled border town of Kobane.

The battle for Kobane has become crucial for both the Islamic State (IS) group and its opponents, with a senior US official saying the Kurds there were inflicting heavy losses on the jihadists.

IS, which declared in June a “caliphate” over territory it seized in Iraq and Syria, was described Thursday as the world s wealthiest “terror” group, earning $1 million a day from black market oil sales alone.

The Kurds in Kobane have been holding out against it for more than a month, buoyed by a promise of Iraqi Kurd reinforcements and by US air drops of weapons.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that 200 Iraqi Kurd peshmerga fighters would travel across his country to join the battle in Kobane, where IS has an estimated 1,000 militants.

The US and its Arab allies have also been stepping up air strikes against IS in Syria.
On Thursday evening an AFP photographer across the frontier captured on film the moment another one apparently hit an IS position atop a hill west of Kobane.

A huge fireball dwarfed the few militiamen who had been seen manning the post under the jihadist group s black flag.

The month-old aerial campaign has killed 553 people, all but 32 of them jihadists mostly drawn from overseas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The jihadist toll included 464 IS militants and 57 fighters from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

2014-10-24

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