Vivid Photos Show What America's New War on Terror in Syria Actually Looks Like

AP

For more than a month, Kurdish militia and Islamic State fighters have battled on the streets of Kobani, a small town straddling the Syria-Turkey border that has become a focal point of the West's military campaign against IS. While American officials admit Kobani may fall, an estimated 135 U.S. airstrikes have pounded Kobani so far, weakening the militants' control.

Media coverage of the campaign against IS has focused on the political maneuvering of the U.S. and Turkish governments, meaning many outlets have failed to capture the sheer destruction and devastation wrought on this tiny town and its surrounding areas, from which more than 400,000 refugees have fled. Refugees are now recounting stories of torture, mutilation and rape in the hands of IS fighters, while U.S.-led airstrikes intensify and an airdrop of weapons may have made its way to both Kurdish fighters and IS militants.

Often, foreign conflicts become abstract calculations, conveyed across the world as headlines, statistics and statements from government officials. These vivid photos from photojournalists capture the true face of America's new war on terror.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Thick smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, as seen from a hilltop at the Turkey-Syria border Monday. 

Source: Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

An airstrike on Kobani sends smoke and dust into the air, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Turkey, on Wednesday. Turkey will allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to travel through its territory to reinforce the Syrian Kurdish force.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Syrian Kurd Kiymet Ergun, 56, celebrates in Suruc following an airstrike on Kobani Oct. 13.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

 An airstrike in Kobani on Tuesday.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

An explosion from an airstrike illuminates buildings in Kobani Monday. 

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Dust, smoke and heat pour off an explosion from an airstrike on Kobani Saturday.

Source: Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

An explosion lights up the night sky in Kobani Saturday.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

More than 400,000 people from Kobani and its surrounding villages have fled to neighboring Turkey.

Source: Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

A Kurdish refugee from Kobani prepares tea in front of her family's tent in a camp in Suruc Wednesday. 

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Thick smoke and dust rise in Kobani from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition Wednesday.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Syrian refugees from Kobani board a truck on the Turkish-Syrian border as fighting intensifies on Oct. 5.

Source: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Wednesday, mourners in Suruc carry the coffins of Kurdish fighters killed in Kobani in a battle against IS militants.