The US-led coalition against the Islamic State militant group carried out five airstrikes Wednesday near a besieged Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, a monitoring group said.

AirstrikesThe strikes hit areas to the east and south-east of Kobane, where the jihadists have been advancing against Kurdish defenders, said Rami Abdel-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Anwar Musallam, head of the self-declared Kobane autonomous administration, said the extremists were 3 kilometres from the town but that its defenders would be able to hold out “for months.”

Coalition airstrikes on the eastern front were ongoing, Musallam said.

“Fierce fighting is still continuing and the intensity of the shelling has increased since dawn prompting fears that there may be more advances by the Islamic State especially on the eastern and north-eastern side of Kobane,” Abdel-Rahman said.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said they had repelled “at least two attempts to advance on the eastern side.”

The Britain-based Observatory said nine YPG fighters and one Islamic State militant were killed in overnight fighting.

The two-week-long jihadist offensive on Kobane, the smallest of three Kurdish-controlled areas in northern and north-eastern Syria, has displaced more than 200,000 civilians, according to the Observatory.

The United Nations says as many as 400,000 people could be forced to flee to Turkey if the enclave falls.

In neighbouring Iraq, where the Islamic State has seized swathes of territory in the north and east, the UN said at least 1,119 people were killed in September.

That toll includes 775 civilians and 344 members of the security forces, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said.

The highest number of civilian casualties were in Baghdad, at 325 dead and 983 wounded.

The figures excluded al-Anbar province, the scene of much fighting between Islamic State and government forces, as UNAMI said it had not yet received casualty figures for the province from Iraqi authorities.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told parliament that air force spy and refuelling planes will immediately join the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq.

But Australia is so far only mounting a support operation against what the premier has called the “apocalyptic death cult.”



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