A young man rides his motorcycle past a heavily damaged building in the northern city of Aleppo on September 27, 2014. AFP PHOTO / AMC / FADI AL-HALABI
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President Barack Obama has acknowledged that U.S. intelligence underestimated the rise of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, where the head of an al Qaeda branch warned militants will attack the West in retaliation for U.S.-led air strikes.U.S.-led air strikes overnight hit a natural gas plant controlled by ISIS fighters in eastern Syria, a monitoring body reported, part of an apparent campaign to disrupt one of the fighters' main sources of income.U.S.-led strikes have so far failed to halt an advance by fighters in northern Syria on Kobani, a Kurdish town on the border with Turkey where the past week's battle caused the fastest refugee flight of Syria's three-year civil war.The head of Syria's al Qaeda branch, the Nusra Front, a Sunni militant group which is a rival of ISIS and has also been targeted by U.S. strikes, said Islamists would carry out attacks on the West in retaliation for the campaign.You will pay the heaviest price," Abu Mohamad al-Golani said in an audio message posted on pro-Nusra forums.He also said his followers should not take advantage of the U.S. strikes to hit out at ISIS. The U.S.-led coalition includes Sunni Arab states who oppose Syria's Assad, but does not include Assad or his main ally Iran, even though ISIS' sway in Syria grew from the revolt against Assad's government.Some of Assad's opponents worry that the U.S.-led bombing will help the Syrian leader stay in power by hurting his most powerful Sunni foes.
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