US-Led Airstrikes Kill 170 Jihadists in Two Days

Coalition airstrikes in Hasakeh province, northeastern Syria, deal heavy blow to ISIS forces, aiding Kurdish advance.

Ari Soffer , | updated: 9:11 PM

US airstrikes on ISIS in Syria
US airstrikes on ISIS in Syria

Air strikes by a US-led coalition against the Islamic State group (ISIS) in northeastern Syria have killed around 170 jihadists in the past 48 hours, a monitoring group said Tuesday.

"The jihadists were killed in the past 48 hours in the province of Hasakeh, nearly all of them in very intense air strikes by the international coalition which is helping Kurdish forces in the area," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In its latest update on the coalition's operations, the US military said in a statement that the alliance's warplanes carried out seven strikes near Hasakeh.  

They struck four ISIS "tactical units," destroying seven vehicles, three fighting positions, two armored vehicles and a shipping container.

"In northern Syria, Daesh continues to cede military capacity, fighters and terrain," US Brigadier General Thomas Weidley said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"The coalition remains committed to targeting Daesh across Iraq and Syria," he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) militia has been making steady gains against ISIS, gaining considerable momentum after liberating the town of Kobane on the border with Turkey.

Kobane became a symbol of Kurdish resistance to ISIS after its embattled, outgunned and outnumbered defenders succeeded in holding out against a massive jihadist onslaught, and eventually pushing back ISIS with the help of US airstrikes and Kurdish peshmerga reinforcements from Iraq.

Since then Kurdish forces have taken hundreds of villages and other positions from IS forces in parts of northern Syria Kurds call "Rojava," or Western Kurdistan.

In both Syria and Iraq it is the Kurds - who have long campaigned for independence or autonomy - who have proven the most effective military force against ISIS.

The US-led airstrikes come as Syrian regime forces continue to battle ISIS around the ancient city of Palmyra, part of which the jihadists briefly occupied before being ousted by the Syrian army and allied militias.

But another ISIS offensive - this one in the Iraqi city of Ramadi - succeeded, pushing Iraqi army troops from the provincial capital of Anbar in Baghdad's biggest defeat since retaking Tikrit from Islamic State.

AFP contributed to this report.