US Special Forces Conduct Midnight Strike Deep In Government-Controlled Syria, Killing ‘ISIS Leader’, Capturing Several Others
- US special forces are conducting raids deep into government-held territory, it is reported
- The operation killed a person believed to be an ISIS leader in northeastern Syria
- Several other people were captured by US forces in the raid, the state said
A US special forces operation involving several helicopters left one person dead in a government-held area of northeastern Syria, Syrian state television reported Thursday.
The person killed in the operation ‘had been a resident of the area for years and is likely to be an Islamic State group leader’, the UK-based Observatory for Human Rights said.
Several other people were caught, the monitor said, without giving a number.
It is the first such operation in government-held territory, added the war monitoring group, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.
“American occupation forces carried out a landing operation using several helicopters in the village of Muluk Saray in the southern countryside of Qamishli, killing one person,” Syria’s state television said without elaborating.
The US Armed Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) said it currently has ‘no information to provide’.
The targeted village is 17 kilometers (10 miles) south of the city of Qamishli and is controlled by Syrian government forces, according to Observatory and AFP correspondents.
The raid was carried out deep in government-controlled territory in the village of Muluk Saray in the southern Qamishli countryside.
“This is the first time” that US forces have conducted such an operation in regime-controlled areas, the Observatory said.
A resident of the village said three US helicopters carrying troops had landed in the operation overnight.
US forces raided a house, killing one person and capturing several others, the resident told AFP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
‘They used loudspeakers to urge residents to stay indoors’ during the operation, the resident said.
The resident said the victim is a little-known displaced person from Hassakeh province, whom he named as Abu Hayel.
Washington is part of a US-led coalition fighting the IS group in Syria.
In July, the Pentagon said it killed Syria’s top IS jihadist in a drone strike in the north of the country.
CENTCOM said he had been ‘one of the top five’ leaders of Islamic State overall.
The July strike came five months after a nighttime US raid in the town of Atme, which led to the death of the overall leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi.
US officials said Qurashi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.
After losing their last territory following a military offensive backed by the US-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of IS in Syria mostly retreated into desert hiding.
They have since used such hideouts to ambush Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops as they continued to attack in Iraq.