Speed Reads


Airstrikes hit ISIS targets as ISIS advances on Kurdish Syria-Turkey border town

Since mid-September, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have been fighting their way toward the Syrian town of Kobani, right across the border from Turkey. On Monday, ISIS fighters broke through the Kurdish forces defending the town and raised black flags over two buildings in the eastern part of Kobani. Early Tuesday, reporters in Turkey heard warplanes overhead and saw plumes of smoke rise over ISIS areas; the U.S. has not confirmed its involvement in the airstrikes, though the airstrikes are widely believed to have come from U.S. aircraft. Here's the view of the strikes from the Turkish side of the border:

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By Tuesday morning, Kurdish forces had driven out the ISIS fighters from eastern Kobani, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, though ISIS has apparently captured some buildings in the south and a partially built hospital in the west of the city. "It is the first time that people have the impression that the airstrikes are effective," Kurdish military coordinator Barwar Mohammad Ali told The New York Times. ISIS is still better armed and numerically stronger, he added, so "they need more."

Turkish tanks are in position across the border, but have not intervened. Hundreds of civilians fled Kobani on Monday, joining the 160,000 Syrians who have crossed into Turkey as ISIS has advanced.