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US-led coalition strikes kill 150 IS militants in Syria

| Updated: January 26, 2018 19:48:49


FILE - Smoke rises near a stadium where Islamic State militants were holed up, after an airstrike by coalition forces at the front line in Raqqa, Oct. 12, 2017.  Photo: Voice of America FILE - Smoke rises near a stadium where Islamic State militants were holed up, after an airstrike by coalition forces at the front line in Raqqa, Oct. 12, 2017. Photo: Voice of America

The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State said it killed nearly 150 militants in strikes on Saturday in the Syrian middle Euphrates River Valley.

The latest strikes come as the United States urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Syria and to focus on fighting Islamic State militants.

The United States has signaled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence.

“The precision strikes were a culmination of extensive intelligence preparation to confirm an ISIS headquarters and command and control center in an exclusively ISIS-occupied location in the contested middle Euphrates River Valley,” a statement issued on Tuesday said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

The strikes took place near As Shafah, Syria and killed between 145 and 150 militants. The statement added that US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Kurdish YPG fighters, helped in target observation.

Turkey seeks to avoid any clash with US, Russian or Syrian forces but will take any steps needed for its security, a Turkish minister said on Tuesday, the fourth day of its air and ground offensive against Kurdish forces.

The United States and Russia both have military forces in Syria and have urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign, named Operation Olive Branch, to crush the US-backed Kurdish YPG in the Afrin region on Turkey’s southern border.

The United States has led an international coalition conducting air strikes against Islamic State since 2014. US troops have served as advisers on the ground with Iraqi government forces and with Kurdish and Arab groups in Syria.

The coalition has said in the past that fewer than 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, but that the militant group still remains a threat, reports Reuters.

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