By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) – The advance of Islamic State rebels on the Syrian border town of Kobani is a tragedy but will not deter the United States and its allies from their long-term strategy in the region, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.
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"Kobani is a tragedy because it represents the evil of ISIS but it is not the definition either of the strategy or the full measure of what is happening with response to ISIS," Kerry told reporters in Boston, using an acronym for Islamic State rebels.
Rebels have seized more than a third of Kobani, advancing despite U.S.-led air strikes as Turkish troops looked on but did not engage.
"We are only a few weeks into building the coalition. People are still receiving assignments," Kerry said. "The primary goal of this effort has been to provide the space for Iraq to be able to get its government in place and to be begin to push back and to begin to be able to deprive them (Islamic State militants) of their command and control, their supply centers and their training. That is taking place."
Kerry said it was likely other towns were vulnerable to Islamic State advances as the U.S.-led efforts in the region would take "weeks and months" to play out.
Kerry spoke at a Boston facility that tests blades for electricity-producing wind turbines, and was joined by his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
Hammond alluded briefly to the rebels, using a different acronym, during remarks focused on clean energy.
"ISIL's assault on Iraq poses another serious threat to our energy security, which could have knock-on effects on global energy markets and the prices that we pay," Hammond said.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Doina Chiacu)