US-led strikes kill more than 500 militants in Syria

MURSITPINAR: US-led air strikes in Syria were reported Thursday to have killed more than 500 militants in a month, as fighting raged in the embattled border town of Kobane.

An AFP correspondent across the frontier in Turkey reported fierce clashes in several parts of Kobane early Thursday, with heavy gun and mortar fire.

The town´s Kurdish defenders have been holding out against an assault by the Islamic State militant group for more than a month, buoyed in recent days by a promise of Iraqi Kurd reinforcements and US air drops of weapons.

Fighter jets were again heard flying over Kobane on Thursday, the AFP reporter said, a month after the US-led coalition expanded its aerial campaign against IS in Iraq to Syria.

The air strikes have killed 553 people since their launch, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, including 464 IS fighters and 57 militants from Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Thirty-two civilians have also been killed, including six children and five women, said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that the “vast majority” of jihadists killed in the strikes were not Syrians but foreign fighters who had joined IS and Nusra in the country.