US-led coalition captures ISIS leader in operation in Syria | International
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The international coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS, for its acronym in English), led by the United States, has captured one of the heads of the jihadist organization in northern Syria at dawn this Thursday, in an operation in the helicopters and special forces participated. The official statement released by the coalition has not revealed the identity of the detainee, but has highlighted that he is “an experienced bomb-making instructor, who became one of the main leaders of the group in Syria”, and that neither neither the members of the commando nor the civilian population suffered damage. General Michael Erik Kurilla, head of the US Central Command (Asia and the Middle East), declared that the allied armed action “reaffirmed the coalition’s commitment to the security of the region.” Pentagon commanders quoted by Washington Post They identified the captured jihadist leader as Hani Ahmed al Kurdi, who allegedly served as governor of Raqa, the city that was the capital of the caliphate in northeastern Syria, and considered one of the most influential leaders of ISIS.
The coup represents the first intervention of the coalition against ISIS in territory controlled by the rebel group Syrian National Army (SNA), militarily backed by Turkey, in the north of the Arab country. Major Yussef Hamud, a spokesman for the SNA, told Reuters that coalition special forces carried out the attack with Black Hawk and Chinook transport helicopters in the village of Al Humaira, located near the Syrian-Turkish border. . “This is the first operation in which US helicopters have landed in this area,” Hamud stressed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based NGO that has an extensive network of informants on the ground, has confirmed that a dozen helicopters belonging to the international coalition against the Islamic State participated in an intervention in the northwest at dawn. from Syria. “The aircraft flew low over Al Sajor, in rural areas of northeast Aleppo, in the direction of Al Humaira, where shots were heard,” the NGO said in a statement. According to the Observatory, the helicopters took off from the Kobane area, a town that is in the hands of the US-allied Kurdish forces, and headed towards areas controlled by the SNA militias, which are backed by Turkey, in Aleppo province. Members of the international coalition faced a firefight with armed men barricaded in houses in Al Humaira.
The US-led coalition against ISIS continues to hit the active nuclei of the jihadist organization after its military defeat, which three years ago meant the disappearance of the territorial caliphate established in 2014 on horseback between Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State woke up in blood and fire from its slumber earlier this year with an assault on Hasaka prison in northeastern Syria. US-backed Kurdish forces crushed the attackers at the end of six days of fighting that killed more than 500 people. ISIS sleeper cells tried to regroup and recruit fighters from the thousands of prisoners crammed into the prison.
The operation carried out this Thursday by the coalition in northwestern Syria is reminiscent of the one carried out in February by US special forces in the province of Idlib, the last bastion of the Islamist insurgency in Syria controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al Sham group. which led to the death of the former supreme leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al Hashemi al Quraishi. This leader had assumed command after the death of ISIS founder Abubaker al-Baghdadi, who lost his life in 2019 by detonating explosives during a US special forces raid to capture him, also in Idlib province.
New threat from Turkey on the border
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The latest operation by international forces occurs in the context of Turkey’s threat to launch a new offensive in northern Syria, like the one it carried out in 2019, mainly directed against the Kurdish militias allied with Washington. The Turkish intelligence services consider that they are related to the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK, in its Turkish acronym), which took up arms against the central power in Ankara three decades ago. The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led coalition that controls much of the northeast of the Arab country, blame Turkey for supporting the Islamic State and using its armed actions to assert its own interests.
The US military has been the subject of serious accusations of having caused a high number of civilian casualties in its operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. As reported Washington PostThe Pentagon acknowledged last month that there had been miscalculations in the March 2019 airstrikes that culminated in Baghuz, on the eastern Syrian-Iraqi border, defeating ISIS and killing civilians, including children.
Proclaimed by Abubaker in June 2014 in the great mosque of Mosul, the third Iraqi city, the territorial caliphate ceased to exist after having accumulated a territory equivalent to that of the United Kingdom and having a population similar to that of Portugal. The Kurdish forces gave the battle to the jihadists together with an international coalition led by Washington. In a conflict where major global powers such as the US and Russia, and regional powers such as Iran and Turkey, have been involved in Syria for more than a decade, the fight against ISIS has been the only common denominator between the opposing sides. Accusations as serious as the attempted genocide against the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq or the orders given to commit massive attacks in Western countries weigh on its militants and leaders imprisoned in Syria.
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