Wednesday, June 19, 2024

US says drone strike killed Daesh leader in Syria

A US drone attack has killed a Daesh group leader in Syria, the US Central Command has claimed.

The strike on Friday resulted in the death of Osama al-Muhajer, IS leader in eastern Syria, Centcom said in a statement on Sunday.

“We have made it clear that we remain committed to the defeat of ISIS throughout the region,” Centcom chief General Michael Kurilla was quoted as saying, using another acronym for the IS militant group.

“ISIS remains a threat, not only to the region but well beyond,” he added.

According to Centcom, no civilians were killed in the operation but coalition forces are “assessing reports of a civilian injury”.

Friday’s strike, Centcom said, “was conducted by the same MQ-9s (drones) that had… been harassed by Russian aircraft in an encounter that had lasted almost two hours”.

US drones taking part in operations against IS in Syria were harassed on Thursday, for the second time in 24 hours, by Russian military aircraft, a US commander said at the time.

Air Force Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich stated the planes “dropped flares in front of the drones and flew dangerously close, endangering the safety of all aircraft involved”.

Russia is a key ally of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

With the support of Moscow as well as Iran, Assad has clawed back much of the ground lost in the early stages of the Syrian conflict that erupted in 2011.

The last pockets of armed opposition to the government include large swathes of the northern rebel-held Idlib province.

The United States has about 1,000 troops deployed in Syria as part of international efforts to combat IS militants, who were defeated in Syria in 2019 but still maintain hideouts in remote desert areas and conduct frequent attacks.

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