Airstrikes overnight hit territory controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria near the Turkish border, an organization that tracks the Syrian war said on Wednesday. The area targeted was close to a city that tens of thousands of Kurds fled last week as the armed group advanced.
Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the warplanes that carried out the raids around 20 miles west of the city of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, had come from the direction of Turkey.
There was no other confirmation of airstrikes in the area.
Abdulrahman said it was not clear which country carried out Wednesday’s strikes, although the planes were not believed to be from the Syrian air force, he said. Abdulrahman's Observatory gathers its information from a network of sources across Syria.
A U.S.-led coalition started airstrikes on ISIL in Syria on Tuesday. ISIL, which has captured land in Syria and Iraq, launched an offensive against the predominantly Kurdish Kobani last week. More than 140,000 Syrian Kurds made their way into Turkey over the weekend, sources told Al Jazeera.
The Central Command of the U.S. military said in a release Tuesday that one of its airstrikes in Syria’s southeast, a more than five-hour drive from Kobani, damaged eight ISIL vehicles, adding that it had conducted 20 airstrikes across Syria "along with partner nations."
A local official in central Kobani said he had not heard any airstrikes close to the town overnight, but that fighting continued between Kurdish forces and ISIL, which has been trying to consolidate its territory across northern Syria.
Idris Nassan, deputy minister for foreign affairs in the Kobani region, said ISIL remained around 9 miles from the town in the east and west but had advanced in the south to within 6 miles after heavy clashes with Kurdish forces.
"Now I hear the noise of mortars in the south," he told Reuters by telephone. "Islamic State gathered heavy forces there. So did the YPG, but Islamic State pushed them back."
The YPG is the main Kurdish armed group.
Redur Xelil, a YPG spokesman, said ISIL was still pushing to take the town, despite the start of U.S.-led airstrikes.
"They did not withdraw from any positions and the battles are still continuing at their most intense level in Kobani and also in Ras al-Ayn," he said, referring to Syrian territory further east along the border.
Al Jazeera and Reuters