U.S. Special Forces Raid Syrian Site in Search of Terrorist Leader

WASHINGTON—U.S. particular operations forces carried out a fight operation to eliminate or capture a superior-degree terrorist in northwest Syria alongside the Turkish border, in a mission that bundled Apache gunships, airstrikes and drones, according to U.S. officials and accounts on social media.

“U.S. Specific Functions forces under the management of U.S. Central Command performed a counterterrorism mission this night in northwest Syria,” mentioned Pentagon push secretary John Kirby in a assertion issued early Thursday. “The mission was effective. There had been no U.S. casualties.”

The Pentagon didn’t deliver any extra information and facts nor would officers validate the identity of the terrorist chief or no matter whether the specific was killed or captured.

President Biden is predicted to address the army procedure Thursday early morning, U.S. officers claimed.

The special forces, in conjunction with other troops, raided a web-site in the Atmeh location in Syria’s Idlib province for a lot more than two several hours, reportedly resulting in many deaths and the destruction of some buildings, in accordance to eyewitness accounts filtered by means of social media. U.S. troops exchanged fireplace with enemy forces on the ground, according to these social-media experiences.

The claimed web-site of the raid, a constructing, is about 15 miles from the village of Barisha, Syria exactly where Islamic Condition leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in October 2019 during a U.S.-led raid targeting him.

Crisis personnel sift via debris in the aftermath of the raid.



Image:

COURTESY OF MOHAMED AL-DAHER/Mohamed Al-Daher by using REUTERS

The procedure was in the preparing phases for at the very least the previous numerous times, U.S. officials said. Maritime Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, which is liable for military functions in the Center East, was envisioned to surface in particular person at a meeting in Washington on Thursday. The group changed his participation previously this 7 days to virtual remarks, so he could keep on being at Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Fla., in accordance to individuals familiar with the matter. By late Wednesday, the general’s team experienced pulled him out of the convention altogether, according to officials with the Middle East Institute assume tank, in which he was envisioned to show up.

Charles Lister, a Syria professional at the Center East Institute, reported that dependent on discussions he experienced had with people in the region and video clips posted on social media the raid started about 1 a.m. nearby time when two or 3 helicopters landed in the Atmeh area—where there are many camps for internally displaced people—and surrounded a residential constructing. Employing a loudspeaker, U.S. troops demanded that ladies and little ones vacate the creating, he stated.

The goal of the raid would have to be a significant specific or individuals specified the firepower that U.S. forces introduced to the battle and the pitfalls included, he explained.

The spot of northwest Syria the place the raid took position is nominally less than the handle of Turkey, but the de facto electrical power is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group and previous al Qaeda affiliate that is now hostile to the two al Qaeda and its rival, Islamic Point out. Al Qaeda has accused the jihadist group of encouraging aid U.S. drone strikes towards its personnel, Mr. Lister mentioned.

Experts said it is hard for the U.S. to dismiss the location, presented the teams that run there.

“It is aspect of Syria in which extremist teams are mixed in with other features of the opposition,” said Andrew Tabler, a former State Section formal who is now with the Washington Institute for In the vicinity of East Coverage, referring to the Syrian opposition. “It demonstrates that no make a difference how much Syria is out of the headlines, the difficulties keep on being the identical.”

The Atmeh space, Mr. Tabler stated, consists of a navy foundation that had been employed in the earlier by the Totally free Syrian Military and other groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has tough terrain and is adjacent to the Turkish border.

Compose to Gordon Lubold at Gord[email protected], Nancy A. Youssef at [email protected] and Warren P. Strobel at [email protected]

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