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Kobane airstrikes 'kill more than 500 IS fighters'

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Date of publication: 23 October, 2014

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US-led bombing campaign is turning the tide of battle, according to opposition group.

Airstrikes by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS) have killed more than 500 militants since they began a month ago, it was reported on Thursday.

The bombing campaign has killed 553 people, including 446 IS fighters and 57 militants from al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, according to the London-based opposition group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In addition, 32 civilians have also been killed, including six children and five women, said the Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

The airstrikes continued on Thursday in Kobane, a Syrian town on the Turkish border which has witnessed intense clashes between Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and IS.

The YPG forces defending the town have been holding out against an IS assault for more than a month, buoyed in recent days by the promise of Iraqi Kurd reinforcements and US air drops of weapons.

Reinforcements needed

After initially losing ground, the Kobane Kurds have fought back hard, with the US military saying they had halted the IS advance and were now holding most of the town.

But local officials say the exhausted fighters are in desperate need of relief and anxious for promised reinforcements from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers in regional capital Erbil agreed on Wednesday to send their Peshmerga fighters, after Turkey this week said it would allow them to travel to Kobane.

Mustafa Qader, responsible for the Peshmerga, said a decision would be made in the coming days about how many to send.

He did not say when the forces would arrive in Syria, but added that "they will remain there until they are no longer needed".

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