U.S.-led Coalition Pounds ISIS Stronghold in Syria

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A pair of U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle
File: A pair of U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle fly over northern Iraq, after conducting airstrikes in Syria.Credit: AP

U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out more than a dozen airs trikes overnight in and around the Islamic State group's de facto capital in northeastern Syria, three activist groups said Friday.

The air raids on the outskirts of Raqqa were the heaviest coalition strikes on the city along the Euphrates River since Islamic State group militants captured a Jordanian pilot after his F-16 jet went down near the city on Dec. 24.

The anti-Islamic State activist group called Raqqa is Silently Being Slaughtered reported on Friday at least 13 coalition strikes. It said the Furoussiyeh area and the Division 17 military base were among the targets hit.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees activist collective also confirmed the air raids.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

On Tuesday, Islamic State militants in Syria have initiated a Twitter discussion on the best way to kill the "Jordanian pilot pig," the Vocative website reported.

Jordan has threatened the Islamists with "grave consequences" if the pilot, Mu'ath Safi Yousef al-Kaseasbeh, 26, a first lieutenant in Jordan's air force is harmed. ISIS has demanded that Jordan abandon the US-led coalition that is bombing its positions in Syria and Iraq, and release several prisoners in exchange for his release.

At the same time, several ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts have asked the organization's followers to suggest ways of killing Kaseasbeh.

The Arabic hashtag “Suggest a Way to Kill the Jordanian Pilot Pig” has been retweeted over a thousand times, according to Vocative. Some of the ideas shared by ISIS followers include beheading the pilot, burning him alive and running him over with a bulldozer.

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