• US-led warplanes pound jihadist sites as Kurds hold out in Kobane

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    MURSITPINAR, Turkey: US-led warplanes on Wednesday intensified bombing raids against jihadists advancing on the strategic Syrian border town of Kobane, in a desperate bid to help Kurdish forces who are holding out despite the Islamic State group’s three-week assault.

    US and Jordanian aircraft pounded IS positions near Kobane, destroying barracks, armed vehicles and a logistic command, even though the Pentagon admitted that air strikes alone were not enough to prevent the strategic town from falling.

    Across the border in Turkey, protests over Ankara’s failure to come to the rescue of Kobane’s predominantly Kurdish residents sparked clashes that claimed at least 21 lives and forced authorities to declare a curfew in six provinces.

    US President Barack Obama said after meeting his defence chiefs that there would be no easy victory against the IS group, but that a growing coalition was resolved to confront the jihadists.

    A Pentagon spokesman earlier said the air offensive needed to be coupled with troops on the ground to defeat the IS group. But such a “capable” force currently do not exist on Syrian soil, Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

    AFP

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