Western-backed rebels want US airstrikes, too

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Associated Press

Posted on August 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 16 at 6:31 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's main Western-backed Syrian opposition coalition is calling for U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State, after the extremist group captured three more northern villages.

Islamic State fighters have overrun nearly a dozen towns and villages in Aleppo province this week. The gains put the extremists within striking distance of a mainstream rebel stronghold, and threaten rival factions' supply lines to neighboring Turkey.

With the mainstream rebels' foothold in Aleppo becoming increasingly precarious, the Syrian National Coalition urged the international community to "quickly support the Free Syrian Army with weapons and ammunition."

The Coalition has long appealed for more robust military support from the West to help in its fight to oust Assad, and more recently to counter the rise of Islamic extremists.

But the group's appeal today appears aimed at capitalizing on the recent U.S. aerial intervention in neighboring Iraq. American military aircraft have targeted Islamic State militants who have advanced on the largely autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq and threatened Christians and other religious minorities.

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