US forces target senior Daesh leader in Syria

Photo: CENTCOM. File photo.

A US helicopter raid on Monday targeted a senior Daesh group leader in Syria suspected of plotting attacks in Europe and the Middle East, the US Central Command said in a statement on Monday.

“US Central Command forces conducted a unilateral helicopter raid in northern Syria in the early morning… targeting a senior Daesh Syria leader and operational planner,” Centcom said in a statement.

The target of the strike was “responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe”, the statement said.

“The raid resulted in the probable death of the targeted individual” while “two other armed individuals were killed”, the statement said, without identifying any of them.

No civilians or US troops were hurt, the statement added.

AFP reported that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike “targeted the building where a Daesh member was present” in Al Suwaydah, a village about 25 kilometers west of the town of Jarabulus on Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

The Observatory, a Britain-based war monitor that relies on sources on the ground, said the strike killed the main target and two other fighters, AFP reported.

According to AFP report, a Turkish-backed rebel group said in a statement that two of its fighters were killed after they went to the site of the raid in the Jarabulus area.

Earlier this month, the US military said it had launched a strike in Syria killing senior Daesh leader Khalid Aydd Ahmad, who Centcom said was responsible for planning attacks in Turkey and Europe.

In October 2019, Washington announced it had killed Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria.

His two successors have also been killed: the first in a US operation in northwestern Syria and the second in an operation by former Syrian rebels in the country’s south.

Some 900 US troops remain in Syria, most in the Kurdish-administered northeast, as part of a US-led coalition battling remnants of Daesh, which remains active in both Syria and neighboring Iraq, operating out of hideouts in desert and mountain areas.

Centcom chief General Michael Kurilla said in Monday’s statement that Daesh “remains able to conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East.”