WASHINGTON, December 16 (Sputnik) — US and international coalition forces have conducted 18 airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria over the past three days, continuing an air campaign to push the terrorist group back, the US Central Command reports.
“US and partner nation military forces continued to attack ISIL [IS] terrorists in Syria December 13-15 using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct nine airstrikes,” the US Central Command, which oversees military operation in Iraq and Syria, said in a statement Monday.
“Separately, US and partner nation military forces conducted nine airstrikes in Iraq December 13-15 using fighter, bomber, attack, and remotely-piloted aircraft against the ISIL terrorists,” the statement added, saying that the airstrikes hit IS fighting positions, stage points, vehicles and compounds.
According to the US Central Command, eight of the strikes in Syria targeted the besieged Kurdish city of Kobane, where Syrian Kurdish fighters have stalled IS advances in a battle that has been raging for nearly three months.
Last week, US President Barack Obama's deputy special envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk, announced that the United States and the anti-IS coalition had struck IS targets with over 1200 airstrikes — 689 in Iraq and 530 in Syria.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), crossed into Iraq from its stronghold in Syria in June. In August, the United States started conducting airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq. In September, Obama announced the formation of an international coalition, which now aims to reverse the advances of the radical Sunni group in Iraq and Syria, targeting IS militants with airstrikes in both countries.
IS has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. After ceasing vast areas in Iraq, the jihadists announced the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. A UN commission has accused IS of war crimes and crimes against humanity for such brutal tactics as killing, enslavement, rape and sexual slavery.