Tuesday, May 30, 2023

US Kills Top ISIS Leader In Syria In Drone Strike

US Kills Top ISIS Leader In Syria In Drone Strike

The US strike killed ISIS leader Maher al-Agal, responsible for aggressively pursuing the development of ISIS networks outside of Iraq and Syria, as per the US statement.

An ISIS fighter walks along with a Islamic State flag File Photo

The US military on Tuesday announced that a drone strike in Syria killed one of the top five leaders of terrorist group ISIS.

Maher al-Agal, one of the top five ISIS leaders and the leader of ISIS in Syria, was killed in a drone strike and another unnamed senior ISIS official was seriously injured in the strike, said US Central Command in a press release. 

It added that the unnamed senior ISIS official was "closely associated" with Al-Agal. 

"In addition to being a senior leader within the group, Al-Agal was responsible for aggressively pursuing the development of ISIS networks outside of Iraq and Syria," according to the press release.

The drone strike was carried outside Jindaris, a town in northwest Syria close to the Turkish border.

The release said there were no civilian casualties, though it wasn't possible to immediately confirm that information.

The terrorist group ISIS at the height of its power controlled more than 40,000 square miles stretching from Syria to Iraq and ruled over 8 million people. 

While the ISIS territorial state —called the Caliphate— collapsed in 2019, its leaders have turned to guerilla tactics and have been able to "efficiently restructure themselves organisationally", according to the Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The US Central Command Spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said, "ISIS continues to represent a threat to the US and partners in the region. CENTCOM [Central Command] maintains a sufficient and sustainable presence in the region and will continue to counter threats against regional security."

Earlier in February, the then-ISIS chief Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in a US raid in Syria. 

"Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi set off a blast killing himself and his family as special forces rounded on his hideout after a gunfight," reported BBC.

This is the second US strike in two weeks in Syria in which senior terrorist leaders have been killed, noted Washington Examiner.

On June 27, a US strike killed Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a senior leader of Al Qaeda-linked group Hurras al-Din, in Idlib province. 

The US Central Command said in a press release at the time that such leaders and organisations continue to pose a threat to the United States and eliminating them neutralises those threats.

It added, "Al Qaeda-aligned militants use Syria as a safe haven to coordinate with their external affiliates and plan operations outside of Syria. The removal of this senior leader will disrupt Al Qaeda's ability to carry out attacks against US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians around the world."

(With AP inputs)