US kills ISIS officials in rare Syria raids

Attacks took place near Qamishli and in northern Syria

US soldiers with members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in north-east Syria. EPA
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The US killed a senior ISIS official in a rare raid near the northern Syrian city of Qamishli, its armed forces said on Thursday.

Rakkan Al Shammri, an ISIS official “known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters”, was killed in a dawn helicopter raid, US Central Command said.

One of his associates was wounded and two were detained. No civilians or US forces were wounded or killed in the raid, it said.

The offensive was conducted in the Syrian government-held village of Muluk Saray in Hasakeh province.

It is the first known US raid against ISIS in regime-held territory.

Centcom said later on Thursday that it had killed another unidentified senior ISIS official and Abu Hashum Al Umawi, a deputy leader of Syria, in an air strike in northern Syria.

It reported no other deaths or injuries as part of the operation.

US forces initiated the attack on Al Shammri after he was found to be responsible for beheading two members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces — US allies in the fight against ISIS — an official told Reuters.

US helicopters landed in the village after midnight and locals were told to stay indoors. They also raided a building used by Syrian regime forces, where they detained several people, a source told Reuters.

“The airborne operation targeted a key ISIS leader present in the areas controlled by the Syrian government. It was successful,” they said.

“This operation aims to expand the scope of targeting this organisation's members across different parts of Syria.”

The ISIS operative reportedly killed in the raid was said to have moved to the village from the town of Taif, a former ISIS stronghold on the Iraqi border, and his identity was unknown to locals.

ISIS leaders Abu Ibrahim Al Quraishi and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi were both killed during US raids in western Syria.

Al Quraishi blew himself up during a US raid in the town of Atme in Idlib province in February.

Al Baghdadi also died by suicide during a raid in Barisha, in Idlib, in 2019. Both areas are controlled by rebel groups, some of which are affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Although defeated in Syria in 2019, ISIS has continued to wage an insurgency in Iraq and Syria, and poses a high security threat.

Many of its former members are detained in Kurdish-controlled prisons and camps across Hasakeh, including the notorious Al Hol camp, home to thousands of ISIS-affiliated women and their children.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 12:03 AM