US-led coalition kills two ISIS leaders in Syria

Extremist leadership in the region under ‘relentless pressure’ from Kurdish forces

TOPSHOT - A convoy of US armoured vehicles patrols the village of Ein Diwar in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on November 4, 2019.  / AFP / Delil SOULEIMAN

US-led coalition forces and their Kurdish allies the Syrian Democratic Forces killed two regional ISIS leaders in a raid in eastern Syria this week, US Central Command announced on Friday.

Ahmad 'Isa Ismail Al Zawi and Ahmad 'Abd Muhammad Hasan Al Jughayfi were killed in the joint raid on May 17 on an ISIS position in Deir Ezzor province CentCom said.

Al Zawi, also known as Abu Ali Al Baghdadi, was the ISIS regional leader for North Baghdad, it said, adding that he was "responsible for disseminating terrorist guidance” from the senior ISIS leadership to operatives in the area.

Al Jughayfi, also known as Abu Ammar, was a senior ISIS logistics and supplies official who directed the extremist group’s efforts to acquire and then transport weapons, bomb-making materials and personnel across Syria and Iraq, CentCom said.

The removal of the ISIS leaders, it said, "will disrupt future attacks against innocent civilians and our security partners and in the region".

The extremist group’s remaining leaders in the area are under “relentless pressure” from the SDF and are in decline, it added.

Since its territorial defeat in Syria in March 2019, ISIS attacks have been restricted to the vast deserts stretching from Deir Ezzor to Homs in the centre of Syria.

Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, who led the extremist group since 2014 and was the world's most wanted man, was killed when he detonated a suicide vest as US special forces raided his hideout in Syria's north-western province of Idlib in October 2019.

Iraq’s National Intelligence Service on Wednesday announced it had arrested a potential successor to the late ISIS leader.

Agents with the service arrested Abdul Nasser Qardash, a high-ranking figure who led the group’s last major battle in Baghouz, Syria, in February 2019.