The US military significantly escalated its airstrike campaign against the extremist group ISIS in the Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday and Tuesday, conducting 21 airstrikes in and around the town.
US Central Command said the strikes had successfully slowed the group’s advances in the town, which is in danger of falling to ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.
Centcom said the 21 strikes in and around Kobani destroyed two of the group’s staging locations and damaged another, destroyed one an ISIS-held building and damaged two others, damaged three ISIS-held compounds, destroyed one ISIS truck, and destroyed one ISIS armed vehicle and another ISIS vehicle.
The US military also struck an additional seven ISIS staging areas, two ISIS mortar positions, three ISIS occupied buildings, and an ISIS artillery storage facility. Centcom said early indications were that these strikes were “successful.”
Separately, the US military conducted an additional strike on an ISIS-held oil refinery near Dayr az Zawr. Centcom said this strike was also successful.
“These airstrikes are designed to interdict ISIL reinforcements and resupply and prevent ISIL from massing combat power on the Kurdish held portions of Kobani,” Centcom said.
“Indications are that airstrikes have slowed ISIL advances. However, the security situation on the ground there remains fluid, with ISIL attempting to gain territory and Kurdish militia continuing to hold out.”
The US said Saudi Arabia also participated in the airstrikes.
The US and its coalition partners have warned of a potential massacre if ISIS successfully takes control of the town. ISIS has been rapidly advancing against Kurdish fighters in Syria, as political considerations have largely prevented Turkey from intervening.
While bickering in public, the US and Turkey have begun bracing for the fall of Kobani. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said last week that ISIS “will take” control of some towns and that Kobani “may fall.” The US has also said Kobani isn’t part of the coalition’s strategic objective of preventing ISIS from gaining a “safe haven” inside Syria.
The US airstrikes Monday and Tuesday, however, were the most significant in quantity since the US began bombing ISIS targets in Syria last month.