The Associated Press
In this image made from a militant video posted on YouTube on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, smoke rises behind archaeological ruins in Palmyra, Syria. The video released by a media arm of the Islamic State group purportedly showed the archaeological ruins of Palmyra apparently undamaged. (Militant video via AP)

2:20 p.m. (1120 GMT)

Syria's foreign minister says his government is not pinning any hopes on the U.S.-led coalition striking at Islamic State group militants in his country.

Walid al-Moallem says the coalition was active in preventing the Kurdish town of Kobani from falling into IS hands last year but that this support seems to have "evaporated" after that.

Speaking at a press conference in Damascus on Wednesday, al-Moallem said the United States did nothing to prevent the ancient town of Palmyra in Syria or the province of Anbar in Iraq from falling into IS hands.

He also says that security coordination between the Syrian and Iraqi armies "has not reached the desired levels."

12:10 p.m. (0945 GMT)

Syrian activists say the Islamic State group has released two Christian women who had been held along with dozens others since February in northeastern Syria.

IS kidnapped more than 220 Assyrian Christians in February, after overrunning several farming communities on the southern bank of the Khabur River in Hassakeh province.

Osama Edwards, director of the Assyrian Network for Human Rights, says the women, who are 70 and 75 years old, were released on Tuesday and have now reached the northwestern city of Hassakeh.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday the two were likely released because of their poor health. Some of the captives were released previously.

Edwards says the Islamic State is still holding 210 Assyrian Christians and is demanding $100,000 for each hostage.

11:45 a.m. (0845 GMT)

An Iraqi military spokesman says Islamic State militants have carried out multiple suicide attacks targeting the army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops.

Brig. Gen Saad Maan Ibrahim, the spokesman for the Joint Military Command, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the attacks took place outside the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah late the previous night.

Ibrahim says Islamic State extremists used a sandstorm that engulfed most of Iraq on Tuesday night to unleash the deadly wave of bombings.

The attacks came just hours after the Iraqi government announced the start of a wide-scale operation to recapture areas under the control of IS in western Anbar province.