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BEIRUT — Airstrikes hit Islamic State strongholds and near frontline positions inside Syria on Wednesday in a second day of attacks by a U.S.-led coalition, activists said.
American warplanes also targeted sites in Iraq, the U.S. military said.
The number of airstrikes in Syria appeared below the wave of more than 200 conducted Tuesday in the initial assault by American warplanes and missiles with support from Arab allies. But activists described intense attacks in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, a critical supply line for Islamic State factions.
At least 10 airstrikes hit suspected Islamic State positions in and around Boukamal, news agencies reported, citing the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The group also said several aerial attacks were carried out near Kobane, a key border town with Turkey that has been the site of intense battles between Islamic State fighters and militias from Syria’s Kurdish region.
The Syrian Observatory said the planes came from the direction of Turkey, although Turkey has denied involvement in the air campaign.
Moustafa Oniedi, a Kurdish activist in Marj Ismael, about two miles from Kobane, said there were strikes south of Kobane but that they did not hit active fronts with Islamic State militants.
“However, the strikes triggered a lot of joy,” he said. “People were clapping, chanting and dancing in celebration because the Americans are hitting the region and they believe that the U.S. came to their rescue.”
More than 130,000 refugees fled to Turkey to escape the battles before Turkish authorities closed the border. Hundreds more refugees sought safe havens Wednesday.
In Iraq, at least five U.S. airstrikes were carried out over a wide area, including two hitting suspected Islamic State armored vehicles west of Baghdad, said a statement from the U.S. Central Command.
Islamic State fighters are waging a two-front war in Iraq and Syria, seeking to expand the boundaries of their newly self-declared caliphate, or Islamic state, ruled by strict Islamic law. The group is accused of widespread atrocities in both countries, including abuses against non-Muslim minorities and the beheadings of at least three Western hostages.
The U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State has met with mixed reaction from Syria’s many rebel groups, many of whom have been fighting the militants since the beginning of the year.
President Obama has proposed increasing military aid and training to “moderate” Syrian rebels to escalate the pressures on the Islamic State and other Islamist factions.
“Of course the Syrian Coalition has welcomed the international coalition to join us in our fight against extremism,” said Monzer Akbik, a member of the Syrian political opposition group. “There should be advancement on the ground by the Free Syrian Army to liberate those areas.”
Deane reported from Rome. Suzan Haidamous in Beirut contributed to this report.