Two top ISIS leaders were killed in an airstrike by the United States forces in northern Syria on Thursday, according to defense officials. The official statement stated that Abu ‘Ala, deputy leader of ISIS in Syria, and Abu Mu’Ad al-Qahtani, an ISIS official responsible for prisoner affairs, were killed.
The operation came just days after an ISIS smuggler was killed by the US forces. The United States has increased its operations in the area and has been targeting senior ISIS officials.
“Last night, U.S. Central Command forces conducted a helicopter raid in northeast Syria, near the village of Qamishli, targeting Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri, an ISIS official known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters to support ISIS operations. During the operation, the targeted individual was killed and one of his associates was wounded,” the Central Command said.
In the build-up to the operation on Thursday, the forces collected around 1000 hours of intelligence to minimise collateral damage and they were successful in keeping all the nearby civilians safe.
“USCENTCOM is committed to our allies and partners in the enduring defeat of ISIS,” CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in a statement while addressing the recent strikes.
The Biden administration has repeatedly made their intentions clear about shifting the military away gradually from the middle east. But, with the new operations, questioned have been asked about whether they can be looking to maintain control over a region which has recently seen interest from two of the world’s other superpowers – China and Russia.