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US-led forces warn fluid ground situation as IS militants try to gain territory

WASHINGTON: The United States-led forces conducted 21 airstrikes focused on halting Islamic State advances at Kobani, Syria, in the last two days, the US military said on Tuesday, warning the situation on the ground is fluid as militants try to gain territory.

The strikes on Monday and Tuesday, which also included Saudi Arabian fighter planes, destroyed two militant staging areas, destroyed or damaged three Islamic State buildings and damaged three other compounds, US Central Command said in a statement.

It was an unusually large number of airstrikes reported since U.S. military planes began daily attacks on Islamic State fighters who have taken over parts of the strategic town close to the Turkish border. Thousands of refugees have been forced to flee over the frontier.

The military said there are indications the airstrikes have slowed Islamic State advances in Kobani but cautioned the situation on the ground remains fluid as militants try to gain territory and Kurdish militia were ‘continuing to hold out.’

The statement said one strike hit a modular oil refinery near Deir al-Zor, a city to the south of Kobani. A strike in Iraq, southwest of the northern oil centre of Kirkuk, destroyed two Islamic State vehicles, it said. (Reuters)