American forces launched an overnight raid in eastern Syria today, killing two ISIS leaders in the region.
The raid, launched just before 3 a.m. local time on Sunday, had been planned heavily in advance, according to U.S. Central Command. Troops arrived and left via helicopter. One of the two targets killed was an ISIS official, identified only as “Anas,” who was involved in the group’s terror plots in the area.
It’s unclear what units were involved in the raid or how many troops participated, nor how many ISIS fighters were on the scene. CENTCOM said that it appears no civilians were harmed in the raid.
“ISIS continues to represent a threat to the security and stability of the region. This operation reaffirms CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to ensuring the group’s enduring defeat,” Joe Buccino, a CENTCOM spokesperson, said in a statement. “The death of these ISIS officials will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out destabilizing attacks in the Middle East.”
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It’s the latest raid this year to target an ISIS commander in Syria. Special operations forces have launched multiple attacks in Syria targeting high ranking members of the terrorist organization. In October, similar helicopter raids killed three ISIS commanders. At the end of November, both ISIS and CENTCOM confirmed that the leader of ISIS, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, had been killed in fighting in October. CENTCOM said he died in a battle with Free Syrian Army forces in Dar’a. His predecessor as leader, the similarly named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, died in February by detonating a suicide vest when attacked by American forces.
The attack in Syria comes less than two weeks after the U.S. briefly halted anti-ISIS patrols in northern Syria, following escalations between NATO ally Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces, which have been a U.S. partner in fighting the terrorist group. The U.S. has since resumed those patrols.
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