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Syrian militant group al-Nusra Front denounces US-led air strikes

29 September 2014

Syrian militant group al-Nusra Front, denouncing the US-led air strikes as "a war against Islam", issued an online statement that called on jihadists around the world to target Western and Arab countries involved, the BBC reported,

The development comes in the backdrop of US and other nations widening airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria.

According to a Syrian activist group, overnight strikes hit three local oilfields near the Syrian IS stronghold of Raqqa.

According to the group, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, one civilian was killed in a strike on a plastics factory on the outskirts of Raqqa.

Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed that jets hit Raqqa on Saturday and IS positions too, near the Turkish border.

Kurdish fighters had been defending the Kurdish town of Kobane on the Syrian side of the border after an IS advance sent about 140,000 civilians fleeing to Turkey.

The US-led coalition comprising 40 countries, including Arab states, had vowed to destroy IS, which has large parts of north-eastern Syria and northern Iraq in its grip.

The international intervention comes following the group's brutal tactics, which include mass killings, beheadings, and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities.

Meanwhile president Barack Obama admitted yesterday that the US had underestimated the threat posed by Islamic State fighters in Syria, as US-led coalition warplanes pounded the oil sites funding the jihadist group.

Late Sunday, coalition planes hit the entrance to the country's main gas plant, to apparently warn Islamic State militants to abandon the premises under their control, according to a monitor AFP reported.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director, Rami Abdel Rahman, the international coalition had for the first time struck the entrance and prayer area of the Coneco gas plant. He added, it was under IS control, and is the largest in Syria.

The strikes had largely been limited to jihadist bases and makeshift oil refineries, until Sunday morning, in a bid to weaken one of their main sources of financing.

Speaking to CBS News, Obama said that former Al-Qaeda fighters forced out of Iraq by US and local forces gone on to regroup in Syria to form the newly dangerous Islamic State group.

"I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria," Obama said, referring to his director of national intelligence.

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