The US Army says it has killed several leaders of the Islamic State organization in Syria

US forces killed several leaders of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Syria in a helicopter operation and an airstrike, the US command said on Thursday (October 6).

The US military command for the Middle East (Centcom) wrote in a first press release that the helicopter operation was carried out overnight in northeastern Syria from Wednesday to Thursday.

“On Wednesday night, US forces carried out a helicopter attack near Qamichli, targeting Rakan Wahid Al-Shamri, an IS official known for facilitating arms smuggling and the clandestine transport of militants.”said Centcom. “The person concerned was killed and one of their companions injured. Two more companions were captured”, Centcom added, without specifying the nationality of the dead officer. According to the same source, no American soldiers and no civilians were killed or injured in the operation.

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This attack, according to consistent sources, took place in a Syrian regime auxiliaries-held enclave near the city of Qamichli, controlled by Kurdish forces allied with American forces.

gunfight

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), this is the first time since the war in Syria began in 2011 that US forces have conducted a helicopter operation in an area controlled by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Hundreds of US troops are stationed in northeastern Syria as part of a Washington-led anti-jihadi coalition that continues to fight alongside its Kurdish allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), sleeper cells of ISIS.

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In Damascus, Syrian state television reported on a helicopter operation “American Occupation Forces” in which a person was killed. She did not give any further details.

“Three US helicopters with troops have landed” near the village of Moulouk Saray, a local resident described to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The American military “Loudspeakers called on residents to stay home”, before searching a house. you have there “One person killed and two kidnapped”he added on condition of anonymity.

According to him, the dead man was a displaced person from the Syrian province of Hassaké, who was little known to the residents and called himself Abu Hayel. The villager claimed that the US soldiers engaged in a firefight against a proxy force of the Syrian regime. For its part, the OSDH reported that two people had been arrested, who would be an Iraqi and a Syrian.

No civilians affected

The US command then announced in a second statement that it had killed two other leaders of the jihadist group in an airstrike in northern Syria. This second attack would have made the killing possible, according to Centcom “both Abu-Hashum Al-Umawi (…) and another senior ISIS official”without affecting civilians. “This strike will weaken ISIS’s ability to destabilize the region and attack our forces and our partners.”commented the head of the American command in the region, General Michael Kurilla.

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After a meteoric rise in power in Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014 and the seizure of vast territories, ISIS saw its self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumble under the impact of successive offensives. He was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2019. But the Sunni extremist group responsible for numerous attacks continues to carry out sleeper cell attacks in both countries.

The United States continues to target IS leaders. In July, they announced they had killed a senior IS official in a drone strike in north-west Syria. In June, they reported the arrest of an IS leader during a helicopter operation in northern Syria.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in 2019, and his successor, Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurachi, was killed in February 2022 in a US special forces operation in north-west Syria, a region affected largely controlled by jihadists.

The complex war in Syria, a fragmented country in which various actors are intervening, has claimed the lives of around 500,000 people since 2011.

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The world with AFP

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