The US is targeting a “senior” ISIS jihadist in north-eastern Syria: Centcom

The US is targeting a “senior” ISIS jihadist in north-eastern Syria: Centcom


US forces on Thursday targeted a “senior” member of the Islamic State jihadist group in an advance in northeastern Syria, the US military’s Central Command said.

The operation is the latest US effort to crack down on IS jihadists, who have been territorially defeated but are still orchestrating attacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

“Centcom forces conducted a raid in northeastern Syria targeting a senior ISIS official,” spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in an emailed statement to AFP, without specifying.

Syria’s state broadcaster had said that a multi-helicopter US airborne operation killed one person and captured several others in a government-controlled area of ??northeastern Syria mostly dominated by Kurdish forces.

The affected village of Muluk Saray is 17 kilometers (10 miles) south of the Kurdish-held town of Qamishli and is controlled by pro-regime militias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Thursday’s raid is the first such airborne operation in government-held territory since the Syrian war began in 2011, the UK-based war monitor added.

The person killed in the operation “had lived in the area for years,” said the observatory, which draws on a wide network of sources in Syria.

At least two people were captured alive in the operation, including a Syrian and an Iraqi, the observer said.

– Little known destination –

A resident of the village said three US helicopters carrying troops landed in the operation.

US forces raided a home, killing one person and capturing several others, the resident told AFP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“They asked residents over loudspeakers to stay indoors,” the resident said.

The resident identified the victim as Abu Hayel, a little-known displaced person from Hassakeh province.

The United States is leading a military coalition fighting ISIS in Syria.

In July, the Pentagon said it had killed Syria’s top ISIS jihadists in a drone strike in the north of the country.

Centcom said he was “one of the top five” IS leaders.

The July strike came five months after a US night raid in the city of Atme that resulted in the death of Islamic State’s overall leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi.

US officials said Qurashi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.

After losing their last territory after a military attack backed by the US-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of ISIS in Syria have mostly retreated to desert hideouts.

They have since used such hideouts to ambush Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government forces while continuing to conduct attacks in Iraq.

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