US-led forces conduct 21 airstrikes to save Kurdish town from ISIS

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The United States and its allies have carried out 21 airstrikes over the past two days against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) near the Syrian border town of Kobani, U.S. Central Command announced Tuesday.

The latest round of strikes carried out on Monday and Tuesday were “designed to interdict ISIL reinforcements ... and prevent ISIL from massing combat power on the Kurdish held portions” of the town, said the military, using an alternate acronym for the terror group.

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“Indications are that airstrikes have slowed ISIL advances,” officials added. “However, the security situation on the ground there remains fluid, with ISIL attempting to gain territory and Kurdish militia continuing to hold out.”

The new airstrikes highlight the difficulty the U.S.-led coalition has faced in repelling Islamic militant forces from the strategic border town. The predominantly Kurdish town is only seven miles from the Syria-Turkey border.

Turkey, though, has been reluctant to provide military support over fears of encouraging nationalism among its own Kurdish ethnic minority.

The Obama administration has sought to downplay the significance of the fight to hold the town, even as it pressures Turkey to act and continues airstrikes.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryTrump's rejection of the Arms Trade Treaty Is based on reality Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech Dem Sen. Markey faces potential primary challenge in Massachusetts MORE on Monday said that holding the border town would not “define” coalition efforts against ISIS.

Central Command employed fighters and bombers to carry out the latest airstrikes, officials said. Fighter aircraft from the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia also participated.

The airstrikes destroyed or damaged a host of ISIS “staging areas," buildings and compounds, according to Central Command. The attack also destroyed a number of the group’s vehicles.

One strike near Dayr az Zawr hit an oil refinery that was held by the group.

“Initial indications are that this strike was successful,” officials said.