The US-led coalition has said it detained a senior leader of the ISIL (ISIS) group in Syria during an early-morning raid on Thursday.
ISIL (ISIS) once controlled an area across Syria and Iraq equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom and has continued brazen attacks since the group’s defeat on the battlefield three years ago.
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“The detained individual was assessed to be an experienced bomb maker and facilitator who became one of the group’s top leaders in Syria,” the statement said, adding that no civilians had been hurt during the operation nor aircraft damaged.
The statement did not elaborate on where Thursday’s raid had taken place.
A spokesperson for a separate Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group told the Reuters news agency earlier on Thursday that US-led forces had carried out a helicopter raid in the village of Al-Humaira just south of the Turkish border, the first operation of its kind in the area.
Major Youssef Hamoud, a spokesperson for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), said US-made Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters were involved but that the exact circumstances were unclear at the time.
“This is the first [US] helicopter landing operation to happen” in areas under the SNA’s control, he said.
A source in touch with rebels in the area told Reuters that fighting broke out during the operation.
United States special forces in February carried out a helicopter raid in Syria’s Idlib province controlled by Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) that led to the death of ISIL (ISIS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi.
Quraishi had led the group since the death of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in 2019.