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U.S. and its allies strike ISIS tank, refineries and checkpoints

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(CNN) — The U.S. military and its allies hit ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq this weekend. While the scope of the airstrikes was not yet clear, several targets were hit, and the strikes appear to have succeeded.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates assisted with attacks in Syria on Saturday and Sunday, including two near Dayr ar Zawr that destroyed an ISIS tank, one in northeast Syria that destroyed three armed vehicles and a Humvee and strikes on “four (ISIS)-held modular refineries and an (ISIS) command and control node north of” Raqqa, a U.S. Central Command news release said.

“Although we continue to assess the outcome of these attacks, initial indications are that they were successful,” the statement said.

In Iraq, fighter jets and drones conducted four airstrikes: one near Baghdad that destroyed an ISIS safehouse and damaged a checkpoint and three near Falluja that destroyed two ISIS checkpoints and a transport vehicle, U.S. Central Command said.

Sekvan Shedo, a Syrian-Kurdish activist in Kobani, said the western and eastern fronts were quiet after sunrise Sunday but on the southern front, ISIS had hit buildings on the outskirts of Kobani with heavy machine gun fire.

There was no word on casualties, but the activist said the situation is growing more troubling, as power and water remain cut, food and basic supplies are running low and there is no humanitarian aid.

Alan Minbic, a fighter there with YPG, the armed branch of main Kurdish opposition group, told CNN that their forces had pushed ISIS back from eastern Kobani, toward the village of Kara Mazra, but a local officials said ISIS was pushing back toward Khobani.

ISIS shelled the eastern outskirts of Kobani as it initially retreated, Minbic said.

An activist near the front lines, who CNN is not naming for security reasons, said YPG forces at first gained ground in their fight, taking over the village of Sheran, but ISIS launched a counteroffensive and took back the village, as well as the village of Marj Ismail, meaning ISIS is about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Kobani.

A CNN team on the Turkey-Syria border that witnessed some of the fighting said ISIS appeared to be pushing back toward Kobani’s eastern front.

“We need help. We need weapons. We need more effective airstrikes,” Kobani official Idriss Nassan said. “If the situation stays like this, we will see a massacre. I can’t imagine what will happen if ISIS gets inside Kobani.”

While ISIS was in control of several villages east of Kobani, most of the area had already been cleared by Kurdish forces, and many residents have sought refuge in Turkey.

Also Sunday, the United States was working to confirm whether a leader of the Khorasan group was killed last week during an airstrike in Syria. The Khorasan group is an al Qaeda offshoot in Syria composed of what the U.S. says are “seasoned” terror operatives whose mission involves finding new ways to attack the United States and Europe.

Though there were numerous reports that jihadists were offering condolences following the senior al Qaeda operative’s death, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told CNN on Sunday morning he can’t confirm the reports.

Blinken’s remarks came as President Barack Obama, in an interview with “60 Minutes” set to air Sunday night, said Syria had become “ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

U.S. forces and Sunni tribes were able to weaken al Qaeda in Iraq, but rather than defeat AQI, they pushed the group underground, he said.

“Over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos — and attract foreign fighters, who believed in their jihadist nonsense and traveled everywhere from Europe to the United States to Australia to other parts of the Muslim world, converging on Syria,” Obama said.

The President also said the United States had underestimated ISIS’ capabilities while overestimating the Iraqi military’s will to fight.

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