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US takes out Daesh leader in Syria

The operation has also resulted in thirteen deaths, six of them children
Vehículo blindado militar de Estados Unidos en Siria AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN

AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN  -   US military armoured vehicle in Syria

US special operations forces conducted a large-scale counterterrorism raid early this morning in northwestern Syria that resulted in the death of Daesh leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, the mission was deemed "successful" because "there were no US casualties", he said in a statement. 

US President Joe Biden has confirmed that "Daesh leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi has been eliminated on the battlefield". This is a major blow to the jihadist terrorist group.

The strike was carried out in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, an area controlled by jihadist groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad. The insurgent groups include the so-called Huras al-Din or Guardians of Religion, an al-Qaeda-affiliated faction whose leaders are mostly foreign fighters, along with the presence of the Levant Liberation Organisation, another former al-Qaeda affiliate, formerly known as al-Nusra Front. Members of these organisations may have been the target of Washington's early morning operation. 

Vehículos blindados militares de Estados Unidos en Siria AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN
AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN - US military armoured vehicle in Syria

The so-called White Helmets, a group of rescuers operating in opposition-held areas of Syria, along with other residents and activists in the area, said the raid had killed thirteen people, six of them children

Several residents' Twitter accounts gave accounts of the raid in which they said they saw several helicopters, a ground assault and a large explosion that began at midnight. According to these sources, US forces used loudspeakers to call on women and children to leave. Residents have also claimed that at least 12 people were killed during the raid

This is why the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a wide network of partners on the ground in Syria, has reported on the victims of the attack. It has also announced the operation in the Atme area near the Turkish border, where armed rebels have clashed with international troops. 

The raid comes days after the end of the Gweiran prison riot by Daesh prisoners, which killed nearly half a thousand people. Kurdish forces, backed by the US, were able to retake control of the prison where, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces, more than 120 fighters and prison workers were killed in the attempt to stop the plot. 

Un convoy de vehículos blindados estadounidenses patrulla en Siria AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN
AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN - US military armoured vehicle in Syria

The Daesh operation has been billed as the biggest action by the terrorist formation since its defeat in the Arab country three years ago, to which the United States has been quick to offer a response with the Pentagon's most significant raid in northwestern Syria since Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in another special operation in 2019.  

The US-led coalition has targeted high-profile militants on several occasions, aiming to disrupt a secretive cell known as the Khorasan group, which is planning external attacks, according to the US Department of Defence. In another Washington-sponsored airstrike, it killed Al-Qaeda's second-in-command and Bin Laden's deputy, Abu Mohammed al-Masri. 

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra