BEIRUT — Islamic State militants launched major attacks in northern Syria on Thursday in a swift counter-offensive after recent battlefield setbacks, storming government-held areas in one mostly Kurdish city and setting off deadly car bombs as they pushed back into a border town they were expelled from earlier this year.
The IS offensive was two-pronged and left dozens of people dead or wounded. On one front, Islamic State fighters advanced early in the morning into the northeastern city of Hassakeh, long split between Syrian Kurds and government forces, capturing parts of it.
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