US forces killed three Daesh leaders in Syria during a helicopter operation and airstrike carried out between Wednesday night and Thursday, the US command said.
The helicopter operation, which targeted Rakan Wahid al-Shamri, took place overnight from Wednesday to Thursday in northeastern Syria, the US military command for the Middle East (Centcom) wrote in a first press release. . It took place in an enclave occupied by auxiliary forces of the Syrian regime, near the town of Qamichli controlled by Kurdish forces allied with US troops, according to concordant sources.
This is the first time since the start of the war in Syria in 2011 that US troops have carried out a helicopter operation in an area under the control of the Bashar al-Assad regime, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).
Two officials killed by drone attack
Hundreds of US troops are deployed in northeastern Syria as part of a US-led anti-jihadist coalition, which continues to fight with its Kurdish allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Daesh sleeper cells.
The US command then indicated in a second press release that it had killed two other leaders of the jihadist group during an airstrike in northern Syria. This second attack would have made it possible, according to Centcom, to kill “both Abu-Hashum al-Umawi (…) and another senior official” of Daesh, without affecting civilians.
“This attack will weaken the ability of (Daesh) to destabilize the region and attack our forces and our partners,” said the head of the US command in the region, General Michael Kurilla.
In Damascus, Syrian state television reported on a helicopter operation by “US occupation forces” in which one person was killed. She did not elaborate. “Three US helicopters with troops landed” near the town of Moulouk Saray, a local resident told AFP.
US soldiers “called on loudspeakers for residents to stay home” before searching one house. “One person was killed and two were kidnapped,” he added on condition of anonymity. According to him, the murdered person was a displaced person from the Syrian province of Hassaké, little known by the inhabitants and who called himself Abu Hayel. The villager claimed a shootout pitted US soldiers against a Syrian regime proxy force.
After a meteoric rise to power in 2014 in Iraq and neighboring Syria and the conquest of vast territories, Daesh saw its self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumble under the impact of successive offensives. He was defeated in 2017 in Iraq and in 2019 in Syria. But the Sunni extremist group responsible for multiple abuses continues to carry out sleeper cell attacks in both countries.
The United States continues to attack Daesh leaders. In July, they announced that they had killed a senior official in a drone strike in northwestern Syria. In June they reported the capture of a jihadist leader in a helicopter operation in northern Syria.
Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in 2019 and his successor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hachimi al-Qurachi, was killed in February 2022 in a US special forces operation in northwestern Syria. , a largely controlled region. by jihadists. The complex war in Syria, a fragmented country where different protagonists intervene, has killed some 500,000 people since 2011.