Warplanes believed to have been sent by the US-led coalition have struck positions held by Islamic State (formerly known as Isis) militants near a Syrian border town that beleaguered Kurdish forces have been struggling to defend.The air strikes came as Kurdish forces pushed Islamic State militants out of the eastern part of Kobani, where the jihadists had raised their black flag over buildings hours earlier.

Isis Kobane
Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani after an air strike, as seen from near the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border. Warplanes believed to have been sent by the US-led coalition struck positions held by Islamic State militants near the Syrian border that Kurdish forces have been struggling to defendReuters

The US-led coalition has launched several air strikes over the past two weeks in a bid to help Kurdish forces defend the town, but the sorties appear to have done little to slow the IS group, which captured several nearby villages in a rapid advance that began in mid-September.

The assault has forced some 160,000 Syrians to flee and put a strain on Kurdish forces, who have struggled to hold off the extremists. Hundreds more civilians fled Kobani on Monday as the jihadists advanced.

Isis Kobane
Islamic State militants and an IS flag are seen on a hill in the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani, near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkish troops are pictured in the foreground, in the town of SurucAFP
Isis Kobane
Turkish Army tanks take up position on the Turkish-Syrian border as Kurdish fighters continue their increasingly desperate efforts to defend the Syrian border town of Kobani from Islamic State militantsReuters
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A Turkish soldier stands guard as Syrian Kurdish refugees wait behind the border fences to cross into TurkeyReuters
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A Syrian Kurdish refugee comforts her child after crossing the Turkish-Syrian borderReuters
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A member of the Turkish Red Crescent distributes water to Syrian Kurds as they wait behind the border fences to cross into TurkeyReuters
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Turkish troops take position near the Mursitpinar border crossing with SyriaAFP
Isis Kobane
Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ain al-Arab, as Turkish soldiers take position near the Mursitpinar border crossingAFP
Isis Kobane
Kurds in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc look towards the Syrian town of KobaniReuters
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People look at a damaged house after it was hit by a shell in the Turkish village of Mursitpinar, just over the border from KobaniAFP
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A Kurdish refugee and her child stand at the entrance of their temporary shelter in a refugee camp in the southeastern Turkish town of SurucReuters
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Kurdish refugees from Kobani sit in a camp in Suruc, TurkeyReuters
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Turkish Kurds look towards Kobani as they stand on top of a house near the borderReuters
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Newly-arrived Syrian Kurdish refugees travel on a truck after crossing into Turkey from KobaniReuters