STATE DEPARTMENT - A Pentagon spokesman says airstrikes have inflicted significant damage on Islamic State militants around Kobani, a mainly Kurdish town near Syria's border with Turkey. In a rare joint briefing at the State Department, Rear Admiral John Kirby said a series of U.S. airstrikes since Wednesday has successfully hit Islamic State command posts, fighting positions and other targets.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says airstrikes near Kobani are curbing the progress of Islamic State militants.
“While the security situation there does remain tenuous, ISIL's advances appear to have slowed," said Kirby.
But he says that does not mean the town and its residents are safe.
“Kobani could still fall," he said.
Kirby says while the U.S.-led coalition has been pounding Islamic State targets near Kobani with airstrikes, more will need to be done to rid the town of militants.
“Our military participation is from the air and air only right now, and we've all been honest about the fact that air power alone is not going to be able to save any town," said Kirby.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said U.S. coalition-building efforts are continuing with a focus on both military and non-military contributions to fight the Islamic State. She said the increased militant threat in the region has prompted a number of countries to act.
“A number of countries in the region that maybe perhaps were not previously taking steps have put laws in place, have done more to crack down on foreign fighters. That's a positive," said Psaki.
The Pentagon says, as a whole, U.S. and coalition forces have now conducted more than 500 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.