US and Arab-coalition aircraft have bombarded Islamic State targets in Syria for a third night as Barack Obama promised to “dismantle this network of death”.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the operation to destroy oil refineries in eastern Syria which are capable of producing millions of dollars in revenue for the group.
A mix of manned and remotely-piloted aircraft were used to target oil-production facilities in the vicinity of Al Mayadin, Al Hasakah and Abu Kamal.
A statement released by US Central Command said early indications suggested the strikes had been successful.
“These small-scale refineries provided fuel to Isil (Islamic State) operations, money to finance their continued attacks throughout Iraq and Syria, and an economic asset to support their future operations.
“The US conducted these strikes as part of the President’s comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy Isil.
“The US and partner nations will continue to conduct airstrikes against Isil in Syria and Iraq and support Iraqi forces as they go on the offensive against this terrorist group.”
But Syrian Kurds who fled towns and cities overun by Islamic State said the group had responded to the airstrikes by focussing its assault near Syria’s border with Turkey.
Despite the coalition’s military superiority, an intensifying advance by IS militants on the northern town of Kobani underscored the difficulty Washington faces using airpower alone.
“Those air strikes are not important. We need soldiers on the ground,” said Hamed, a refugee who fled into Turkey from Islamic State.
A teacher from Kobani who made it across the Turkish border said two of his brothers had been captured by the group.
Mazlum Bergaden said: “The situation is very bad. After they kill people, they are burning the villages. When they capture any village, they behead one person to make everyone else afraid.
“They are trying to eradicate our culture, purge our nation,” he said.
Some 140,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey in the last four days alone, and authorities are preparing for many more.
US President Barack Obama has called on the world to join together to destroy the Islamic State, which he branded a “network of death”.
Addressing the United Nations, he vowed to keep up the pressure on the militants, warning them to “leave the battlefield while they can”.