The United States bombed Islamic State-controlled oil refineries in Syria on Wednesday as President Barack Obama recruited more allies to fight the jihadist “network of death.”
U.S., Saudi and Emirati warplanes broadened their bombardment to target the oil installations in eastern Syria that have helped fund the jihadist group’s brutal rise from rebel faction to alleged global threat.
The strikes came as Obama urged leaders gathered at the U.N. General Assembly to join his coalition and convinced the Security Council to back a resolution to stem the flow of foreign fighters that has swelled the IS ranks.
Belgium and the Netherlands committed warplanes to Iraq and Britain said its parliament would vote Friday on following suit.
“The United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death,” Obama told the U.N. about the Islamic State group, which has grabbed vast areas of Iraq and Syria.
“Today I ask the world to join in this effort.
Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, U.S. air raids targeted IS fighters threatening the Kurdish regional capital in Iraq and damaged eight militant vehicles operating in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border.
Then as night fell again on Wednesday, Arab jets joined the U.S.-led bombardment again as the target list was expanded to include economic assets.
The latest round of air raids focused on 12 targets in eastern Syria, where the IS extremists control small-scale oil refineries.
“These 12 targets were what we call modular oil refineries,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told CNN.
“They were struck with precision-guided missiles by coalition aircraft. In fact, there were more coalition aircraft in the skies on these particular missions than U.S. (planes),” he said.
Alongside U.S. aviation and cruise missiles, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan have hit targets in Syria and France in Iraq. Qatar is providing logistical support.