US Centcom says almost 700 ISIS fighters were killed in Syria and Iraq in 2022

US forces carried out dozens of operations with the Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi Security Forces

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Almost 700 ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq have been killed in 313 operations in 2022, the US military's Central Command said on Friday.

Most operations were carried out in collaboration with US-backed Kurdish militants, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces.

The US military was involved in 108 partnered and 14 unilateral operations in Syria, during which 466 ISIS operatives were killed.

At least 220 ISIS fighters were killed in 191 partnered operations in Iraq, Centcom said.

"These operations degraded ISIS and removed a cadre of senior leaders from the battlefield, to include the emir of ISIS and dozens of regional leaders as well as hundreds of fighters," it said.

No US troops were wounded or killed during the operations.

The US combat mission in Iraq ended In December 2021 and the military assumed an advisory role.

“Over the past year, Iraqi Security Forces demonstrated an ability to continue operations to degrade ISIS, to aggressively pursue the terror group in Iraq, and to improve security and stability within Iraq,” said Centcom commander Gen Michael Kurilla.

“In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to display the will, skill and ability to aggressively root out ISIS leaders and fighters."

More than 10,000 ISIS fighters remain in detention centres across Syria and 20,000 are held in Iraq, Centcom said.

This month, ISIS fighters attacked a holding complex in the north-eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, killing six Kurdish fighters.

In January, ISIS fighters broke out of the Ghwayran prison in Hassakeh, leading to deadly clashes between the SDF and the terrorists.

"The ensuing fight to contain the breakout resulted in more than 420 ISIS killed and more than 120 partnered forces killed," Gen Kurilla said.

He warned of a "next generation" of ISIS members, referring to the 25,000 children in Syria's Al Hol camp, which holds ISIS fighters and fighters' wives.

"These children in the camp are prime targets for ISIS radicalisation," Gen Kurilla said.

"The international community must work together to remove these children from this environment by repatriating them to their countries or communities of origin while improving conditions in the camp."

Experts have accused some of the women in the camp of continuing to follow the ISIS ideology.

"Al Hol is about survival. It's about keeping it moving," Amarnath Amarasingam, extremism researcher at Queen's University in Canada, told The National.

"Some women there ... make sure that the conditions under ISIS live on and part of that is to police other women."

Updated: December 30, 2022, 6:50 AM
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