Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 8, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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U.S.-led air strikes Wednesday pushed ISIS fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said.Defense experts said it was unlikely that the advance could be halted by air power alone -- a fact that left not only Washington but also the Syrian Kurds' ethnic kin across the border in Turkey demanding to know why Turkish tanks lined up within sight of Kobani had not rolled across the frontier.Beyond becoming a target for ISIS, which is active along much of Syria's 900 km (550 mile) border with Turkey, it fears being sucked into Syria's complex civil war and perhaps even having to confront Syria's formidable army.Erdogan says Turkey will join the military coalition against ISIS only if it also confronts Assad, arguing that the Syrian leader would otherwise take advantage of strikes against his foes. Erdogan wants the alliance to enforce a "no fly zone" to prevent Assad's air force flying over Syrian territory near the Turkish border, and create a safe area for an estimated 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey to return. Washington, which has so far managed to bomb ISIS positions in Syria without Assad raising objections, has not agreed to expand the mission to confront the Syrian leader.
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