A French navy Rafale fighter jet takes off from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle operating in the Gulf on February 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ
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The U.S.-led coalition carried out airstrikes Thursday against ISIS in northeastern Syria as fierce fighting raged between local militiamen and the jihadis, who now hold more than 200 Assyrian hostages, activists said.The U.S. and partner nations launched 14 airstrikes against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria since Wednesday morning, the Combined Joint Task Force said. Five airstrikes were conducted in Syria and targeted ISIS tactical units in Hassakeh province, where the hostages are being held, and the jihadis' fighting positions near Ain al-Arab. Younan Talia, a senior official with the Assyrian Democratic Organization, said ISIS had raided 33 Assyrian villages, seizing as many as 300 people.The ISIS offensive has killed at least 35 jihadis and 31 members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and of an Assyrian defense force, according to the Observatory. Ankara does not place a high priority on fighting ISIS and as a result foreign fighters are able to travel through the country into Syria, intelligence chief James Clapper said.
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