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US and Arab coalition target Isis-held oil facilities in eastern Syria

Air strikes take out four tanks as autonomous Kurds desperately battle terrorist armies

WARPLANES pounded Islamic State (Isis) positions in eastern Syria yesterday, targeting makeshift oil production facilities.

US jets were joined by aircraft from the coalition of Arab dictatorships Washington has convinced to take part in air strikes against the terrorist group.

The US military claimed to have destroyed four tanks belonging to Isis.

It is seeking to put the oil wells out of action as black-market oil sales are thought to be a significant source of Isis’s revenue.

Bombing raids hit the oilfields at Tanak and Qouriyeh near Deir el-Zour on the Euphrates river. An Isis HQ in Mayadeen was also hit.

The Syrian government also launched air strikes against jihadi opposition fighters in Hama and Daraa — but there was still no sign of co-ordination between Damascus and Washington, though they are now targeting the same enemy.

Washington has dodged the issue of coming to a rapprochement with the secular Bashar al-Assad regime, which it has tentatively sought to overthrow.

Confusion is even greater among Washington’s European allies — with Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Britain growing more amenable to air strikes against Isis in Iraq but refusing to take part in attacks in Syria in case Isis’s defeat strengthens Mr Assad’s forces.

Near the Turkish border, Isis fighters continued to close in on the city of Kobane, where the autonomous socialist-backed Kurdish Rojava state is desperately fending off the terrorist militants.

Rojava is one of the few areas of north-east Syria still resisting Isis, which has overrun dozens of villages and implemented a reign of terror.

Kurdish fighter Ismet Sheikh Hassa said Isis was advancing on Kobane from three sides and had begun bombarding the town with mortar fire.

Kurds from Turkey were tearing down barbed-wire border fences yesterday to stream to Kobane’s defence — but Mr Hassa said the Kurdish fighters were heavily outgunned, relying on antiquated Russian weaponry.

Isis by contrast had “heavy weapons, including tanks, artillery and machine-guns,” he said.

And Isis’s rival extremist terror group the Nusra Front — an al-Qaida affiliate — staged rallies demanding the US extend its bombing campaign to target Syrian government forces too as it sought to exploit the chaotic situation in the country.


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