US forces target senior ISIS leader in Syria raid
In a helicopter raid early on Monday morning, US forces in Syria targeted a senior Islamic State (ISIS) leader believed to be responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe. The individual, who remains unnamed, is thought to have been killed in the operation, which also resulted in the confirmed deaths of two other people.
According to a statement from US Central Command (CENTCOM), the raid “reaffirms CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS”. Joe Buccino, a CENTCOM spokesperson, added that further details about the operation will be provided soon.
A US Central Command helicopter raid in northern Syria targeted a Senior ISIS Leader. pic.twitter.com/BoenvFfbmS— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 17, 2023
ISIS gained control of significant parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014. Although the group was declared territorially defeated in Syria in 2019 when the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and international allies captured the group’s last stronghold in Baghouz, eastern Syria, it continues to pose a serious threat in the region through hit-and-run attacks, abductions, and bombings.
Around 1,000 US troops stationed in Syria form part of an international coalition against ISIS that has been supporting the SDF since 2017, providing them with weapons, military equipment, and advisers.
On Sunday, the coalition announced the arrest of an ISIS operative in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, which they described as a “hindrance” to the group’s activities in the region. On Wednesday, CENTCOM confirmed that it had detained three ISIS members in eastern Syria.