Friday, February 3, 2023

US says 2 Daesh ‘officials’ killed in Syria raid

The US forces have killed two members of the Daesh terror group in in a helicopter raid in eastern Syria, the US military announced in a statement on Monday without specifying the location of the overnight operation.

The forces “conducted a successful helicopter raid in eastern Syria at 2:57am (23:57 GMT)… killing two Daesh officials,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in a statement.

It claimed there were no civilian casualties in its initial assessments of the operation.

One of those killed was identified by a first name, “Anas”, the CENTCOM statement said, adding that he was involved in the group’s deadly “plotting and facilitation operations in eastern Syria”.

The killing comes less than two weeks after Daesh announced that its leader Abu Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in battle. The US stated al-Qurayshi was killed in an operation conducted by rebel forces in the southern city of Deraa in October.

Little had been known about Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who took over the group’s leadership following the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi, his predecessor, in a US raid in February in northwest Syria’s Idlib province.

Al-Qurayshi is believed to be a nom de guerre that various Daesh leaders have adopted.

The US forces have been actively involved in Syria under the guise of fighting the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh. Washington has extended the troops’ presence in Syria since 2017, although, the Arab country and its allies defeated the terror outfit that year.

“ISIS [ISIL] continues to represent a threat to the security and stability of the region,” CENTCOM spokesman Joe Buccino said in the statement.

“The death of these ISIS [ISIL] officials will disrupt the terrorist organisation’s ability to further plot and carry out destabilizing attacks in the Middle East,” he added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor announced it was the “most prominent” anti-Daesh operation for at least three weeks. It added that Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) troops were also involved in the raid.

There are some 900 US forces in Syria supporting the SDF forces as part of the international coalition fighting against Daesh remnants. They have frequently targeted Daesh fighters, mostly in parts of northeastern Syria under Kurdish control.

The Turkish operations in northern Syria targeting SDF forces have put US personnel at risk and have threatened to destabilise the situation in Syria.

US troops and SDF fighters resumed joint patrols in northeastern Syria after a temporary halt following Turkish attacks across the border in Syria.

Turkey blamed the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which forms a bulk of the SDF, for the November 13 Istanbul bombing that left six people dead.

Ankara considers YPG as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody armed rebellion in the country’s southeast.

The PKK is designated as a “terrorist” organsition by Turkey as well as its NATO allies the US and the European Union.

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