U.S. fighters and drone aircraft continue to strike targets tied to the so-called Islamic State group, with at least 10 missions carried out in Iraq and Syria since Friday. Some of the strikes hit around Kobani, a town close to Turkey’s border with Syria that’s been under siege.
Kobani is in an area where tens of thousands of Kurdish people have fled Syria in the past week, seeking safety in Turkey.
“They are in the fight of their lives,” the BBC’s Paul Wood reports from the town, “and every night, according to the Kurdish fighters, they are attacked by Islamic State. So far, the airstrikes — although the Kurds are very grateful for them — don’t seem to have stopped the jihadis from trying to take this place.”
Seven airstrikes were carried out in Syria and three in Iraq, according to U.S. Central Command, which adds that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates participated in some of the strikes.
CENTCOM details the outcomes of the strikes against the group, which is also known as ISIL or ISIS:
“In Syria, an ISIL vehicle was destroyed south of Al-Hasakah. Also near Al-Hasakah several buildings that were part of an ISIL garrison were destroyed. An ISIL command and control facility near Manbij was damaged. An ISIL building and two armed vehicles at the Kobani border crossing were destroyed. An ISIL held airfield, an ISIL garrison and an ISIL training camp near Ar Raqqah were damaged.
“In Iraq, three airstrikes southwest of Irbil destroyed four ISIL armed vehicles and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.”
News of the strikes comes as the U.S.-led coalition of nations fighting ISIS grows to include Britain, Belgium and Denmark. British fighters from the Royal Air Force are expected to take part in their first missions Saturday.
Those countries join France, the Netherlands and Australia on the list of countries from outside the region that say they’ll send fighter jets and other resources to help. (NBC News has a rundown of more countries that are involved.)
In Syria, the round of U.S. airstrikes has met with anger and suspicion among rebel groups, who say that by fighting ISIS, the U.S. coalition is aiding President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Noting that other rebel groups have fought the extremists in Syria, The Military Times reports, “resentment is high among the opposition that, after ignoring their pleas for greater help against Assad for years, Washington finally took action only to counter radicals it sees as a danger to U.S. interests.”
On Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged that the fight against ISIS won’t be easy or quick.
“We are at the beginning, not the end” of the push to bring the group down, Hagel said, according to a Pentagon release.
He added that air power alone will not be enough to dismantle the organization, an effort that he said “will require a long-term commitment from the United States and all of our partners and allies.”