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International coalition arrests top Daesh leader in Syria

The international mission only assured that no civilians or members of its ranks were injured
Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria

PHOTO/UNITED STATES ARMY  -   Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria

The international coalition fighting the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), led by the United States, arrested during an operation launched early Thursday in northern Syria a bomb maker considered to be "one of the top leaders of the Syrian branch of Daesh".

"Coalition forces conducted a counter-terrorism operation to capture a senior Daesh leader (...) The captured individual is an experienced bomb-maker and operational facilitator who became one of the top leaders of the Syrian branch of IS," the alliance announced in a statement.

The international mission, set up in 2014 to fight the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria, said no civilians or members of its ranks were injured during the action, without providing logistical details or geographic location.

Un miembro de Daesh ondea la bandera de Daesh en Raqqa (Siria)
PHOTO/REUTERS - A Daesh member waves the Daesh flag in Raqqa, Syria.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in the early hours of the morning that about a dozen helicopters of international troops flew at low altitude over rural areas of the north-western province of Aleppo and later raided the village of Humaira.

In this area, also in Aleppo, alliance troops descended from their aircraft and engaged in a firefight with unidentified local house occupants, according to the note from the UK-based NGO with an extensive network of partners on the ground.

Convoy de vehículos blindados estadounidenses cerca de la ciudad nororiental de Al-Qahtaniyah
AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN - US armoured vehicle convoy near the north-eastern city of Al-Qahtaniyah

Such night raids are not common in Syria and are often targeted at high-profile figures, such as the US operations that killed former IS leaders Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi last February and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019 in Idlib province, adjacent to Aleppo.

Daesh earlier this year staged its largest action in Syria since it was territorially defeated there in March 2019, with a prison riot involving thousands of Daesh prisoners that left nearly half a thousand dead in the north-east of the country.