(CNN) - The U.S. intelligence community now believes two key terrorist operatives targeted by the United States in the opening night of attacks in Syria are still alive and could be actively plotting, multiple officials tell CNN.
The operatives are key members of Khorasan Group, the al Qaeda affiliate entrenched in Syria that the United States has declared poses a great risk to American national security. One official with direct knowledge of the latest U.S. assessment said the working assumption now is that both Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of the group, and David Drugeon, a French jihadist and key member, who is believed to be a skilled bomb-maker, are alive. The United States does not know with certainty if they are injured.
An intelligence analyst with knowledge of the intelligence tells CNN "its 99.5% certain" they are alive.
New U.S. airstrikes against ISIS include nine in Syria and three in Iraq, according to military officials as President Barack Obama met with high level military officials at the Pentagon Wednesday to discuss the U.S. strategy against ISIS.
The United States and its allies have made at least 271 airstrikes in Iraq and 116 in Syria.
The cost? More than $62 million for just the munitions alone.
The effect? Negligible, some say, particularly in Iraq as ISIS continues to gain ground.
Republican Congressman Buck McKeon is Chairman of House Armed Services Committee and he's OutFront.
Intense street fighting raged in the Syrian city of Kobani Monday as ISIS came closer to capturing a key area on the border with Turkey.
ISIS fighters continue to gain ground across the region. Militants raised their black flag over two Syrian positions in the key border town of Kobani. To the west in Anbar province, ISIS has captured the town of Heet and earlier Monday, mortar fire hit the green zone - inside Baghdad.
In the U.S., the FBI arrested an Illinois teen at Chicago's O'hare airport, charging that he was headed to the middle east.. to fight for ISIS.
OutFront, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, he's the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Besaslan, Turkey (CNN) - On the southern edge of Turkey, rolling brown pastoral hills slope gently to the Syrian border, with small towns like this one dotting the horizon. The calm on this side of the border, however, belies the scene on the other side.
Just across the border in northern Syria, the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS is fighting a full-tilt battle in its effort to capture and control new territory, part of its push to create a sprawling Islamic caliphate, or separate Islamic state, modeled on the first caliphate that spread across the region in the centuries following the death of the Prophet Muhammad around 640 AD.
As ISIS fighters expand their control, it is in the border region, in villages like Besaslan, where the Islamic State group can make some of the money it needs to finance its wars. Oil-smuggling operations involving millions of barrels have recently been uncovered.
The oil comes from wells and refineries that ISIS has taken over inside northern Iraq and northern Syria, and until very recently it was easy to smuggle it into this quiet part of southern Turkey. One reason is that cheap, smuggled oil is a much-prized commodity in Turkey, where oil is so expensive that it almost doesn't matter who is selling it, even if it's your enemy.
A short video released by ISIS on Friday shows the apparent beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, with the executioner blaming the death on the United Kingdom for joining the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the group.
Henning is the fourth Westerner beheaded in an ISIS video. Like the others, the video shows and English-speaking, masked militant waving a knife over the kneeling hostage. Henning joined an aid convoy last December and was taken hostage soon after crossing from Turkey into Syria.
Prime Minister David Cameron calling Henning's executioners "barbaric and repulsive." President Obama said the U.S. and its allies will bring the perpetrators to justice.
The video is similar to the previous ones, with a clearly scripted statement being delivered by the victim. But unlike the previous ones, this one is shorter and is shot tightly, showing none of the surroundings.
And just like the previous videos, it ends with a threat to another hostage.
The National Security Council confirmed that Kassig is being held by ISIS.
"We will continue to use every tool at our disposal - military, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence - to try to bring Peter home to his family," according to agency spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
The American who appears at the end of the video, Kassig, is a former soldier who became an aid worker in the Middle East.
Kassig's parents, Ed and Paula, confirmed to CNN it was their son, "who was doing humanitarian work in Syria, is being held captive."
CNN's Arwa Damon profiled Kassig when he was helping wounded Syrians in Lebanon in June 2012. She's OutFront.