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Airstrikes target Islamic State positions near embattled Syria border town

  • In this image shot from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, Turkish forces secure the border as militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria, background, where fighting had been intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. The flag is indicating that the jihadists may have regrouped and broken through the Kurdish lines. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this image shot from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, Turkish forces secure the border as militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria, background, where fighting had been intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. The flag is indicating that the jihadists may have regrouped and broken through the Kurdish lines. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Turkish soldiers on tanks hold their positions on a hilltop in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani in Syria where fighting had ben intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Turkish soldiers on tanks hold their positions on a hilltop in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani in Syria where fighting had ben intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Turkish forces armored vehicle patrols the border road in Mursitpinar, on the outskirts of Suruc, as fighting in nearby Kobani, Syria intensified between Syrian Kurds and militants of Islamic State group, at the Turkey-Syria border, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A Turkish forces armored vehicle patrols the border road in Mursitpinar, on the outskirts of Suruc, as fighting in nearby Kobani, Syria intensified between Syrian Kurds and militants of Islamic State group, at the Turkey-Syria border, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab and its surrounding areas have been under attack since mid-September, with militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

Warplanes believed to have been sent by the U.S.-led coalition struck positions held by Islamic State militants near a Syrian border that beleaguered Kurdish forces have been struggling to defend.

The airstrikes on Tuesday came after fighters from the extremist group managed to enter some neighborhoods of Kobani, a strategic town near the Turkish border. Journalists on the Turkish side of the border heard the sound of warplanes before two large plumes of smoke billowed just west of Kobani.

The U.S.-led coalition has launched several airstrikes over the past two weeks near Kobani in a bid to help Kurdish forces defend the town, but the strikes appear to have done little to slow the Islamic State offensive.