BEIRUT (Reuters) - Forty-one Islamic State militants were killed in the Syrian border town of Kobani on Tuesday as U.S.-led air strikes helped local forces push the group to the city’s edges, a monitoring group said.
The predominantly Kurdish town, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, close to the Turkish border, has become a symbol in the international fight against the hardline Islamist group that broke away from al Qaeda.
The U.S. military said it or its coalition partners had conducted 10 air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, mostly on Kobani, since Monday.
As well as the 41 members of Islamic State, seven Kurdish fighters and two civilians were killed in the fighting, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war that has dragged on for four years.
The Kurds, who have secured effective self-rule in northern parts of Syria, now control around 80 percent of Kobani, pushing Islamic State out towards the south and southeast, according to the Observatory.
Islamic State launched an attack on the town more than three months ago. The group has seized expanses of land in Syria and Iraq and declared what it calls a caliphate.
The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 670,000 children in Syria are being deprived of education after Islamic State ordered schools to close while the curriculum is made to conform with its religious rules.
(This story has been refiled without changes to remove company code from headline)
Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Robin Pomeroy