Two military sources have confirmed that a US airstrike in northern Syria on Thursday killed two senior ISIS executives, one day after a US raid in the same region killed an ISIS smuggler.
According to the authorities, Abu ‘Ala, one of the top five ISIS commanders and the group’s deputy head in Syria, and Abu Mu’Ad al-Qahtani, the group’s official responsible for prisoner matters, were both killed in the attack. The attack occurred in Syria at 6:23 p.m. local time.
The strike had no negative effects on US soldiers, and no US equipment was damaged or destroyed.
The sources stated that US Central Command soldiers in the area spent over a thousand hours gathering information on the targets to minimise the danger of collateral damage, and that early assessments indicate that no people were killed or injured.
The attack followed a second operation by the US military on Wednesday night local time that killed an ISIS weapons smuggler, according to a statement released by the Pentagon on Thursday.
Even though ISIS is now a shadow of its former glory, the United States has not stopped going after its leadership in Syria. The US is really concerned that ISIS doesn’t gain strength, and the recent raid and airstrike back-to-back against the terror organization signal an escalation in the intensity of operations.
Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri, an ISIS official who is known to enable the smuggling of weapons and men to support ISIS operations, was the target of a helicopter attack last night by U.S. Central Command troops in northeast Syria, near the hamlet of Qamishli. US Central Command claimed in a statement that “the targeted person was killed and one of his colleagues was injured during the operation.”
CENTCOM also noted that throughout the operation, no US service members or civilians were hurt.
CNN cites three military sources who said the smuggled weapons were utilized to aid ISIS in their activities.
A military officer has said that the raid was a one-sided American action that didn’t include the coalition against ISIS. Special operations personnel from the United States used helicopters in this mission.
One official stated that due to the raid’s sensitive location and nature, the deconfliction line wasn’t utilized to alert Russia ahead of time.
US Central Command spokesperson Colonel Joe Buccino stated in a statement, “USCENTCOM is dedicated to our friends and partners in the lasting defeat of ISIS.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Pentagon said that a high-ranking member of ISIS had been the target of a strike, but they would not provide any other information.
State-run Syrian television said on Telegram that one person was murdered and many others “kidnapped” by the United States during an operation in northeast Syria.
This year, the United States has targeted many high-ranking members of ISIS in Syria. U.S. forces launched an operation in northwest Syria in February, and ISIS commander Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi blew himself up, ensuring his own death. It was the most significant American operation in Syria since the 2019 attack that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the previous head of ISIS.
Upon the confirmation of Baghdadi’s death by ISIS in November 2019, the organization appointed Qurayshi as its new leader.
U.S. authorities said they had been aware of his whereabouts for months prior to the raid. He and his family had taken refuge on the third story of a building, and he was directing the terrorist organization’s activities through a system of messengers. The deputy who shared his apartment on the second floor was also slain in the attack.
ISIS has claimed Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi as its commander since March, however this is widely believed to be a guise.
Salim, or Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, was another prominent ISIS commander in Syria who was captured by the US-led combined joint task force some months after the Qurayshi operation. In addition, ISIS commander Maher al-Agal was killed by a U.S. drone attack in northwest Syria in July.
Despite the fact that the Biden administration has been trying to refocus the military on what it sees as future threats like an assertive China and a Russia likely to use force against its neighbors, activities have begun in Syria.
ISIS has been seeking to reorganize and mount a challenge to the U.S.-led coalition against them ever since the collapse of their self-proclaimed caliphate in 2019. The al-Hol refugee camp in Syria, home to an estimated 60 thousand people, has been the target of repeated attacks. The displaced people camp is being used by ISIS as a recruitment center.
According to US Central Command, ISIS tried to carry out a suicide strike on the camp last month by equipping two cars with explosives. One car blew up early, while the other was stopped by the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are backed by the United States.