Roundup of campaign against Islamic State

DAMASCUS - Here is a roundup of developments Wednesday in the international military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria.

The United States, which leads the coalition, initially launched strikes in Iraq on August 8 and widened its campaign on September 23 to include Syria, where IS has its headquarters.

So far, the coalition has attracted dozens of countries, though only a handful of Arab allies -- Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- are participating in the strikes on Syrian soil.

Five European countries have committed aircraft to Iraq only -- Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France and the Netherlands -- but Britain and France are the only ones so far to have carried out strikes.


- Kurdish fighters backed by US-led coalition air strikes were locked in a fierce battle to prevent a key Syrian town on the border with Turkey -- Ain-al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish) from falling into the hands of jihadists, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

US-led forces carried out at least five air strikes against IS fighters on positions east and southeast of the town. With the Kurdish fighters fewer in number and militarily worse equipped, the jihadists continued to shell the town from positions as little as three kilometres (two miles) away.

- British fighter jets fired on IS militants west of Baghdad overnight, the defence minister said. Two Royal Air Force Tornados based in Cyprus fired four Brimstone missiles on two IS vehicles, including an armed pick-up truck.

- In the Sunni Arab town of Dhuluiyah, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Baghdad, a tribe backed by Iraqi forces repelled a jihadist attack, leaving at least seven dead on either side.


- On Monday the Observatory said one week of strikes in Syria have killed at least 211 jihadists and 22 civilians.

- On Wednesday, monitors said air strikes and clashes in Ain al-Arab killed at least 18 people, half of them jihadists and half Kurdish fighters.

- The Observatory said IS had executed 10 people, including a civilian and three Kurdish female fighters, in the same area on Tuesday.


- The US Pentagon said the military cannot bomb the IS into "obscurity,", appealing for patience in its escalating attempts to defeat the jihadists .

- France said it will beef up its military deployment in the fight against the IS in Iraq, without specifying what this would amount to.