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Tags: Khobani | ISIS | airstrikes | Syria | Iraq

Despite Airstrikes, ISIS Close to Taking Kobani

By    |   Monday, 06 October 2014 12:52 PM EDT

Following a heavy assault by tanks and heavy artillery along the Turkish-Syria border, Islamic State (ISIS) fighters appear to be closer to capturing the city of Kobani, which would carry "huge symbolic and strategic weight," reports CNN.

The advance of the Islamic State despite U.S. airstrikes has raised questions about their effectiveness and the need for increased military action, including ground forces.

"When I talk to people here in Kobani, they thank the international community, and the United States, they thank the countries who are striking the ISIS. But everyone believes it is not enough," Kurdish Kobani official Idriss Nassan tells CNN.

Nassan's fear that the air assault has been insufficient in stemming the gains made by the terrorist group is shared by others in the region.

Noting that the Islamic State has not yielded much territory they gained before the campaign began, Mohammad Hassan, a Syrian activist, tells The Wall Street Journal that the airstrikes have been "useless so far."

Hassan, an activist in eastern Syria battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad, added that "most of the training camps and the bases were empty when the coalition hit them.”

Jamie Dettmer of The Daily Beast recently reported that U.S. airstrikes on a captured village near Khobani last week "have done nothing to slow the jihadists" and by last Friday, "ISIS battle tanks sat brazenly out in the open before trundling towards the center of Kobani."

On Aug. 7, President Barack Obama announced the launch of targeted airstrikes intended to stop the advance of the Islamic State across Iraq that began in June.

Airstrikes in Syria began two weeks ago. U.S. and allied forces have conducted 250 airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and 80 in Syria, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While defense analysts have criticized the administration's refusal to keep ground troops on the table, choosing to rely on airstrikes, Defense Department officials counter that they have disrupted the Islamic State's movements.

In his Oct. 3 briefing, Pentagon spokesman Read Adm. John Kirby disputed assertions that the airstrikes were not having an impact and insisted they had predictably forced the Islamic State to change their tactics.

"We've seen them change some of their tactics. They, not surprisingly, have gotten better at concealment. Before the airstrikes happened, they were they pretty much had free reign. They don't have that free reign anymore, because they know we're watching from the air," said Kirby.

Some members of Congress, however, remain unconvinced.

"I am sure there has been some," South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham told CNN on Sunday.

"But this strategy of aerial bombardment is not going to work to destroy ISIL," he added.
Graham's contention that a campaign of targeted airstrikes will be insufficient to defeat the Islamic State is shared by General Sir David Richards, a former British defense official.

“Air power alone will not win a campaign like this. It isn’t actually a counter-terrorist operation. This is a conventional enemy in that it has armor, tanks, artillery ... you have to view it as a conventional military campaign," Richards told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, reports The Guardian.

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Following a heavy assault by tanks and heavy artillery along the Turkish-Syria border, Islamic State (ISIS) fighters appear to be closer to capturing the city of Khobani, which would carry huge symbolic and strategic weight, reports CNN.
Khobani, ISIS, airstrikes, Syria, Iraq
Monday, 06 October 2014 12:52 PM
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