IS gains new ground despite US-led airstrikes

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Despite the continuing coalition air campaign against it in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State fighters have gained ground against Syrian Kurdish militiamen around the border town of Kobane.

A Kurdish militiaman fighting to protect the city told the Associated Press that militants were less than half a mile from the outskirts.

Weary refugees arriving in Turkey described atrocities at the hands of the militants. Osman Nawaf, 59, said he saw about 50 bodies hanging headless in the village of Boras when he passed it on his three-day walk from a village on the outskirts of Kobani.

Halil Aslan, 48, a villager in Turkey, recounted seeing IS tanks roll into a village on the Syrian side.

"They shelled the place with tanks and mortars," he said. "We could hear them falling on the hills."

Meanwhile, fighter aircraft from the United States and its Arab nation partners have pounded Islamic State targets again, striking the militants in both Syria and Iraq.

US president Barack Obama has vowed to keep up the military pressure on Islamic State militants and urged those who have joined the extremist group in Iraq and Syria to "leave the battlefield while they can."

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Obama said Islamic State must be destroyed.

Meanwhile a video emerged showing the apparent beheading of a French hostage held by IS-linked militants in Algeria.

Photo capton: A US Air Force F-22 Raptor. The US' new stealth fighter has seen its first battle in the current campaign against IS in Syria.