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Sep 24, 2014 5:32 AM

Activists: Air raids hit IS group in eastern Syria

The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) At least 10 airstrikes hit suspected Islamic State positions on Wednesday in an eastern Syrian town near the Iraqi border, activists said.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the airstrikes in and around Boukamal, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. But the activist group cited locals as saying the intensity of the air raids was similar to that of strikes on the town early Tuesday by the U.S.-led military coalition.

There was no immediate comment from the United States or its Arab allies.

The American-led coalition conducted more than 200 airstrikes on Tuesday against roughly two dozen targets in Syria, including several in Boukamal along the Syria-Iraq border.

The Islamic State group controls a vast stretch of territory spanning the frontier. Its fighters are waging a two-front war, in Iraq and Syria, as they seek to expand the boundaries of their self-declared proto-state ruled by a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The U.N. has accused the group of committing atrocities in both countries.

The U.S.-led campaign against the extremists has met with mixed reaction from Syria's multitude of rebel brigades, many of whom have been locked in a deadly fight with Islamic State militants since January. But the rebels' ultimate goal is to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, while the U.S. is focused on defeating the Islamic State group.

On Wednesday, the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group criticized the American-led airstrikes for being limited to the Islamic State group and other extremists while leaving Assad's government untouched.

"We regret that the international community has come up with partial solutions to the Syrian conflict in which hundreds of thousands were killed or detained by the Assad regime," said Nasr al-Hariri, secretary general of the Syrian National Coalition.

In a statement, al-Hariri also said that any effort other than helping Syrians overthrow Assad will only further fuel extremism.


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