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Situation in Syria / ISIS

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#941 amor de cosmos

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 07:41 AM

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford on Tuesday announced that after Mosul the campaign against ISIS will focus on Tal Afar, Kirkuk and the Euphrates River valley near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived on Monday in Baghdad with Jared Kushner, the senior advisor to President Donald J. Trump, and Tom Bossert, the president’s homeland security advisor. On Tuesday, the U.S. delegation arrived in the Kurdistan region to discuss the ongoing campaign against ISIS.

“It is not our judgment that the Iraqis will be self-sustaining and self-sufficient in the wake of Mosul,” Dunford said. “More important, it is not Prime Minister [Haidar] Abadi’s assessment, [either]. He believes he will need continued U.S. support in Iraq post-Mosul.”

“The enemy is still in Tal Afar to the west of Mosul, as well as in Kirkuk and in the Euphrates River valley near Qaim. These are the three major areas of concern once Mosul is liberated,” the chairman said.

“Mosul is important, Dunford said, but it is not the end of the campaign against the terror group. ISIS still continues to launch terror attacks in Baghdad and in other cities,” he noted.


At least 31 people were killed, including 14 police officers, and more than 40 wounded in attacks overnight by Islamic State militants in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, security and medical sources said on Wednesday.

The militants wore police uniforms and used a police vehicle to enter the city, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police colonel Khalid Mahmoud told Reuters. He said there were around 10 attackers, including two suicide bombers.

Islamic State's Amaq news agency said seven suicide fighters attacked a police position and the home of the head of the city's counter-terrorism service, who was killed. The assailants blew themselves up when they ran out of ammunition, it said.

A total of 31 bodies were taken to hospital, including 14 policemen, said Nawfal Mustafa, a doctor at the city's main hospital. The death toll rose during the morning as the bodies of civilians killed in their shops were found.


#942 amor de cosmos

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 09:51 AM

meanwhile is mosul....

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Hundreds of civilians trying to flee Mosul were killed by ISIS, with some of their bodies being hung from electrical poles across the city, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) announced on Friday.

"According to our CT Department, on Monday and Tuesday, ISIS massacred 140 civilians fleeing to areas controlled by Iraqi forces," tweets from the KRSC stated.

ISIS mass killings, public executions and killings for fleeing have been widely reported.

An Associated Press investigation in August 2016 estimated that between 5,200 and 15,000 people are buried in mass graves in Iraq and Syria.

"Some bodies were later hung on electrical poles in [the] Eslah, Zirai and Tanak neighbourhoods. Others were taken to nearby frontlines," the KRSC wrote.

Eslah is located in western Mosul near the northern area of Hayy Al Uraybi, and Tanak is in far western Mosul near Kahraba al Yarmuk.

Zirai is in eastern Mosul near Sennacherib Palace.


#943 amor de cosmos

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 07:24 AM

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — As many as 200 ISIS fighters have defected from battlefields, many of whom the group heavily relied on as it has lost large segments of territory in the western side of Mosul, will face judges, according to Iraqi officials.

“A large number of ISIS militants have surrendered to the security forces and it is ongoing,” said Najim al-Jabouri, the commander of the Nineveh Operations Command, adding that “Upon the request of the surrendering militants, the general commander of the armed forces has guaranteed the militants that they will be tried just and their lives will be protected until the court has issued their verdicts per their crimes.”

Following a string of military setbacks among ISIS militants and the loss of territories in Iraq and Syria, desertion has increased among the radicals and according to Iraqi defense ministry reports as many as 200 militants have fled.

In February, the Iraqi Counter Terror Service (ICTS) stated that locals could confidentially notify security forces about ISIS militants “whereabouts, their weapons, hideouts, headquarters, and drones” through the ICTS Facebook page.

The total number of ISIS fighters who have surrendered is not easily quantified because some defectors surrender to various security entities including to Kurdish forces.


#944 amor de cosmos

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 08:47 AM

The governor of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province survived an assassination attempt in eastern Mosul on Sunday, according to a local military officer.

Gunmen opened fire on the convoy of governor Nofal Hammadi al-Sultan in eastern Mosul before his bodyguards engaged the attackers, Army Colonel Ahmad al-Jubouri told Anadolu Agency.

No injuries were reported.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.


Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's replacement as head of Da'ish reportedly been picked. Abu Hafsah Al-Mosuli chosen by the "Shura council".


#945 amor de cosmos

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:42 AM

Counter Terrorism units right now advancing in west Mosul Iraq.

ISIS only now controls 6.8 percent of Iraqi territory, says official spokesman

Heavy clashes west of Tabqa town surrounded by SDF

Iraqi forces begin storming Old Mosul neighborhood in W Mosul today after a 20 day pause.


U.S.-backed forces fighting Islamic State in Syria advanced to within 2 km (1 mile) of a key stronghold near the jihadist group's de facto capital of Raqqa on Tuesday, and a counter-attack by the militants was repulsed, officials said.

The multi-phased campaign by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by air strikes and military advisers from a U.S.-led coalition, ultimately aims to oust Islamic State from Raqqa. IS is also losing ground to U.S.-backed offensives in Iraq.

Officials have given different estimates for how long the campaign will take, and the assault on Raqqa itself appears to have been delayed, after one high-ranking military official said it would begin at the start of April.

Meanwhile the immediate goal is to capture the city of Tabqa, some 40 km (25 miles) west of Raqqa, and a nearby dam on the Euphrates river, an official for the Raqqa campaign said.

"For now, the target in front of our eyes is the city of Tabqa, and the dam," Gharib Rasho, a media official for the campaign, told Reuters.

He said the SDF had taken control of around 60 percent of the dam, after capturing its northern entrance last month. The SDF is made up of Syrian Arab and Kurdish forces, including a large contingent from the powerful Kurdish YPG militia.

On Tuesday, SDF forces thwarted an Islamic State counter-attack near Tabqa and advanced to within 2 km of the city from the east, an SDF statement said.

Rasho said Islamic State had been trying to break a siege the SDF had imposed on Tabqa by attacking both from inside and from areas to its south which Islamic State still holds.


#946 amor de cosmos

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 08:05 AM

The US-led coalition on Tuesday said that ISIS continues to make revenue from fines and taxies levied on residents of areas under the group’s control.

“While Daesh still uses its own issued currency, the dirham, for taxes, it continues to accept US dollars and Syrian pounds as well,” the coalition said in a statement, using another acronym for ISIS.

“This likely points to Daesh’s inability to manage its money supply as it loses ground and faces growing numbers of internally displaced persons in its territory,” it added.

Moreover, the US-led coalition said that ISIS is still using the oil fields in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor province for internal consumption.

“Daesh still draws oil from fields in Deir ez-Zor Province, likely for internal distribution and consumption, which provides Daesh another source of income from residents. This oil may also be sold to the Syrian regime,” the coalition said.


The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday took control of the Raqqa-Damascus road, after killing scores of Islamic State’s (ISIS) jihadists and capturing weapons and ammunition.

On the 23rd day of the operation to take Tabqa city and Tabqa Dam, the Kurdish-led SDF forces took control of the Raqqa-Damascus road on the western front of Tabqa city.

During the operation over 14 ISIS fighters were killed, the SDF media centre said in a statement.

On March 21st, a campaign was launched by the SDF to liberate Tabqa city and its strategic dam in Raqqa province, in northeastern Syria.

Currently, Tabqa city is isolated by SDF forces, and fighting continues.

Raqqa, the de-facto capital of ISIS, relies on the dam for its water and electricity, and taking the dam will be a heavy blow for ISIS.

Jesper Söder, a Swedish SDF member, told ARA News: “We are advancing in to Tabqa area everyday. But there is really hard resistance from Daesh [ISIS].”


#947 amor de cosmos

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:30 AM

Iraqi armed forces have captured parts of Al-Tanak neighborhood in northern Iraq’s Mosul city, a police official told Anadolu Agency Thursday.

Anti-terrorism forces affiliated the Iraqi army clashed for more than 13 hours until Thursday noon with Daesh militants in the neighborhood, which is regarded as one of the most important strongholds of the terror group in the western part of the city, Police Capt. Said Kamel al-Alusi said.

Seven alleys in the neighborhood were recaptured, al-Alusi said, adding that his forces killed 15 armed militants and arrested another three; they also destroyed a booby-trapped vehicle through which a suicide bomber tried to target Iraqi troops.

A police captain was also killed and another four injured during the operation, he added.

About the U.S.-led coalition’s coordination with Iraqi forces in Mosul operations, al-Alusi said: "Poor weather conditions in the region have reduced airstrikes of the international coalition’s warplanes on Daesh-linked sites in western Mosul."


UN Damage Assessment Shows Extensive Destruction in Western Mosul



ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Almost two months into the Iraqi offensive to recapture western Mosul from ISIS militants, the fight has slowed because of precautions to protect civilians taken by Iraqi forces backed by the US-led international coalition, additionally ISIS fortifications and their use of human shields have been problematic, according the coalition’s spokesperson.

"I don't want to say they continue to advance at pace, when in reality, it's very, very slow and it's a very, very hard, gut-busting fight between our forces and theirs,” US Col. John Dorrian said during a Thursday teleconference.

"The Iraqi security forces do continue to advance,” he added, not wanting to provide a timeline for the completion of operations in western Mosul. “We knew it was going to be very difficult.”

Dorrian said Iraqi security forces are making “incremental progress” because of a combination of ISIS strategies.

"[ISIS has] no single tactic. They have a layered defense. They've two years to build it,” he said, adding that those defenses in western Mosul have included tunnels, off-the-shelf drones, snipers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).

“Unfortunately, one of the ones that's most problematic and hardest to deal with is their use of human shields,” he added. “They've intensified efforts to bring civilians into harms way.”


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A coalition airstrike mistakenly targeted an location of their allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), killing 18, the coalition said in a statement published Thursday afternoon.

“The strike was requested by the partnered forces, who had identified the target location as an ISIS fighting position,” reads the statement. “The target location was actually a forward Syrian Democratic Forces fighting position.”

The strike took place on Tuesday, April 11 south of Tabqa where the SDF has been making gains against ISIS in their campaign to isolate Raqqa.


#948 amor de cosmos

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 08:08 AM

A top “mufti” of the Daesh terrorist group was killed by Iraqi police in western Mosul, a high-ranking police official said Friday.

“Police units killed Daesh ‘Mufti’ Abdullah Younis al-Badrani -- also known as Abu Ayyub al-Attar -- in a rocket attack near western Mosul’s Republican Hospital,” General Raed Shakir Jawdat, commander of Iraq’s Federal Police force, said in a statement.

He did not say when exactly the incident occurred.

A mufti is a Muslim legal expert authorized with issuing rulings, or fatwas, on religious matters.

“Police also targeted a terrorist concentration, including several foreign fighters, elsewhere in western Mosul, killing two prominent Daesh leaders,” Jawdat added.

He went on to identify one of the two slain terrorists as Abdul Qadir Mahmoud al-Hamdouni, otherwise known as Abu Sajee.

In a related development Thursday night, the Iraqi army announced the capture of Mosul’s main western entrance.


The Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday announced the beginning of the fourth phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation against Islamic State’s (ISIS) extremists in Raqqa, northeast Syria. to clear out the northern countryside of Raqqa.

“In the name of the General Command of the Euphrates Wrath Operations Command, we now announce the beginning of the fourth phase to clear the remaining northern countryside and the valley of Jalab from the terrorists and to remove the last obstacles in front of us, to prepare for the liberation of the city of Al-Raqqa and the completion of the siege with encirclement of the terrorists,” the SDF’s operations room said in a statement obtained by ARA News.

“This operation is carried out with the participation of the various factions and forces affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces, with the direct support of the [US-led] coalition forces against terrorism through overall coverage and actual consultation on the ground. Progress is made on several fronts, eastern front and western front, Jalab and the northern countryside of the city of Raqqa,” it said.

The SDF leadership called on the people of Raqqa to cooperate with the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS, in order to ensure their safety. “Stay away from enemy positions and beware of the enemy’s plans that they will using them as human shields. We pledge to exert all efforts to preserve their security and safety,” the room said.


The latest image of Al-Nuri mosque in Mosul Old district and the Iraqi flag is seen really close to the mosque.


Iraq federal police destroyed ISIS HQ command and control in Mosul Old district after getting information from civilians & drones

Iraq's special forces are carrying out daily night-time raids into the heart of Da'ish-held neighbourhoods in Mosul to weaken enemy units.


MOSUL, Iraq — The airstrike crater on a once-busy road in eastern Mosul is filled with murky water and lined with garbage, a nearby market shrouded in the stench. The fight for Iraq's second largest city ended nearly three months ago, but little is back to normal.

Iraq declared the eastern half of Mosul "fully liberated" in January and launched an ongoing operation for the western half the following month. But the destruction left by the fighting is visible everywhere in the east, and resentment is already mounting at the slow pace of reconstruction.

That could have implications for Iraq's post-ISIS future. Mosul is diverse city, and widespread anger at the alleged corruption and mismanagement of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad enabled the extremists to gain a foothold in the city years ago — and overrun it in a matter of days in the summer of 2014.

There is no running water or electricity in eastern Mosul, and government employees who had their salaries cut off during the extremists' rule face a long process of security vetting before they can get paid again. Clearing crews can be seen here and there, filling in holes and dragging away the burnt shells of vehicles, but they face a daunting task.

"They brought two pipes with some gravel, and the governor and the director of the municipality came wearing workmen's clothes to show that they were doing something," said Riyadh Thanoun, the owner of a nut shop. He said they placed the pipes and gravel over a nearby stream where a bridge had been destroyed, but the makeshift crossing washed away in the first heavy rain.

"Now it is worse than it was before," he said. "You can't cross at all and have to make a long detour."

His and other shops rely on costly outdoor generators for electricity. Damage to the water network has caused widespread diarrhea, and forced aid agencies to truck some 2.3 million liters of water into the city every day.


March was the deadliest month ever recorded by Airwars during the Coalition’s campaign in Iraq and Syria. This coincided with the greatest number of munitions dropped by the allies so far in the war. The high number of alleged incidents across both countries forced Airwars temporarily to pause its full vetting of Russian airstrikes in order to keep pace with the reported Coalition toll.

After a disastrous strike on March 17th claimed up to 230 lives in Mosul, media attention intensified – and the Coalition began reviewing its strike policies in the campaign there. However, civilians were also killed in record numbers across the border in the vicinity of Raqqa, Syria. Indeed it appears highly likely that the Coalition killed hundreds of civilians in Syria during March, with little press coverage. Neither the campaigns for Raqqa nor Mosul have finished – and Coalition proxies backed by US forces have yet to even begin fighting in Raqqa city itself.

For the third straight month the reported civilian toll of Russian airstrikes in Syria was surpassed by that of the Coalition in both Iraq and Syria. But this may change, as Moscow again ramps up its own air campaign – one that has already left thousands of civilians dead.


#949 amor de cosmos

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 07:34 AM

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Security Forces deny that there has been any slowdown in the battle for west Mosul as they announce the destruction of an ISIS security building, and the death of two judges and a mufti of the extremist group.

“Today, April 14, 2017, the federal police forces bombed ISIS militants on the right bank of Mosul, destroying the ISIS general security building. They also destroyed an anti-aircraft weapon inside Zinjili school,” Commander of Iraq’s Federal Police Major Shakir Jawdat said in a statement.

In a separate operation, the Federal Police targeted a group of ISIS militants. “Among the dead were two judges and head of the high committee to supervise ISIS military bases,” Jawdat detailed. “One of the judges was called Abdulqadir Mahmud Hamduni, known as Abu Sajaja. This is in addition to the killing of Abdullah Yunis Badrani, known as Abu Ayub Atar who was an ISIS general mufti, near Jimhuri hospital.”

Fighting is ongoing in some neighborhoods where ISIS has launched counter-attacks.


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US-backed mainly Kurdish SDF have entered the first two districts of the ISIS-held city of Tabqa, west of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the extremist group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked the Syrian city on two fronts, entering one district from the eastern side and another west of the city.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the SDF reports, citing what it called “reliable sources.”

The observatory reported heavy clashes between the SDF and ISIS militants overnight, with the mainly-Kurdish forces supported by the US-led anti-ISIS global coalition.

The SDF said it lost two of its members in the clashes, while claiming that it killed more than two dozen ISIS militants.


#950 amor de cosmos

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 08:19 AM

A lethal US drone strike in Syria on March 16th did target a mosque – as locals have always insisted and American officials have denied – according to new analysis by Forensic Architecture, Human Rights Watch and Bellingcat. Researchers also allege that the US launched Hellfire missiles at civilians as they fled the mosque, killing many.

The new reports make use of before and after imagery of the buildings; eyewitness testimonies; and architects’ drawings to demonstrate that the United States did indeed target the Sayidina Omar Ibn Al-Khattab mosque, located about a mile southwest of al-Jinah in Aleppo governorate.

“Our analysis reveals that contrary to US statements, the building targeted was a functioning, recently-built mosque containing a large prayer hall, several auxiliary functions and the Imam’s residence,” according to Forensic Architecture.

In its own report Human Rights Watch argues “that US authorities failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize civilian casualties in the attack, a requirement under the laws of war.”


The Islamic State’s (ISIS) supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive and has moved to Syria, the Iraqi intelligence reported on Monday.

The Iraqi military intelligence, known as Suqur al-Istikhbarat unit, said that the recent reports about al-Baghdadi’s death were inaccurate, stressing that he is still alive.

The ISIS caliph al-Baghdadi has recently moved to Syria after being injured in an airstrike by the US-led coalition in northwestern Iraq.


The Manbij Military Council on Monday sent 200 fighters to support the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Raqqa operation with heavy weapons and ammunition, local sources said.

“We did not forget the SDF support. During the liberation campaign of the city of Manbij, the fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces provided us with great support until we were able to liberate our city from the mercenary,” the Manbij Military Council said in a statement on Monday.

“We saw the need to support the Syrian Democratic Forces to liberate the city of Tabqa and eliminate the ISIS mercenaries,” the council said.

An official in the Manbij Military Council said they are ready to send more forces.

Jesper Söder, a volunteer with the SDF, on Monday said that the SDF are now just 500 meters from the centre of the ISIS-held Tabqa city, in Raqqa province.


The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group is seeking a possible alliance with al-Qaeda after suffering heavy losses, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said on Monday.

The Iraqi official said that ISIS has launched talks with al-Qaeda after losing large territory in northern Iraq.

This comes as the Iraqi army and security forces continued to close in on Western Mosul, the final stronghold of ISIS in Iraq’s second largest city.

“The discussion has started now,” Allawi said, based on information he got from local and regional contacts. “There are discussions and dialogue between messengers representing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and representing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.”


Situation near Mosul: about 100 000 soldiers deployed against 5000 ISIS

CTS control 90% of Mosul's Thawra (aka al-Shoora) neighbourhood and @ArmY_Iq 9th Div has 30% Mashrifa



#951 amor de cosmos

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:28 AM

Iraqi forces have recaptured Mosul’s western Al-Thawra neighborhood from the Daesh terrorist group, a military source told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

"Army-affiliated anti-terrorism forces hoisted the Iraqi national flag over buildings in the district after inflicting the enemy with severe human and material losses," army Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir Yaarallah said.

Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Ziad Tariq al-Babali, for his part, told Anadolu Agency that U.S.-led coalition warplanes had carried out airstrikes in western Mosul’s Al-Rifai district, killing at least 17 Daesh terrorists and injuring nine others.


Kurdish feminist Layla Mohammed was appointed as the co-head of the US-backed Raqqa civilian council, with Mahmoud Shawakh al-Busran as the Arab co-chair.

At just 27, Layla Mohammed was the first woman to rule over Tel Abyad town, where she was born. In 2006, she studied engineering at the university of Raqqa, but she fled Raqqa in 2013 to Kobani after Raqqa fell to the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front.

Later after Tel Abyad was liberated in June 2015 from ISIS by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), she was appointed as co-chair.

“It’s very strange for people to build a new system after they were suppressed by the [Assad] regime and it was difficult for them to accept the idea of being governed by a woman,” she said.

“In the past, whether in military, politics, or even on the social side, women were not allowed to participate,” she added.

On Tuesday, she was appointed as the co-chair of the Raqqa civilian council, which contains members of the Arab tribes, Turkmen, and Kurds, and was attended by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces.


Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the ground forces commander for the US-led coalition, told reporters on Wednesday that ISIS foreign fighters that are stuck in Mosul ‘can fight, surrender, or die’, since ISIS is completely isolated in Western Mosul.

However, he said a tough fight remains and that is difficult to say when the operation is finished. “What’s left is a tough fight, a complicated terrain,” he said. “But I assure you, the Iraqi forces are up to the task.”

According to the top US general, hundreds of civilians are weekly dying because ISIS is targeting civilians and using human shields.

“The more their military position worsens, so is their inhumanity,” the commander said about ISIS. “Two years ago, ISIS was at the gates of Baghdad, now the Iraqi security forces are about to capture the second largest city under ISIS, their leadership fled, and their days are numbered.”


Iraq's special forces are now using launchers made by Da'ish against them. Dozens of launchers have been seized in Mosul.

30+ Da'ish casualties today during heavy fighting in Mosul's old city district as Iraq's forces push towards the symbolic Al-Nuri mosque.

Iraq's armed forces have captured the Al-Nasr district in western Mosul.

Kurdish officials say another key ISIS official dead in coalition airstrikes in Syria - media chief Khalid Hamza al-Maamouri


#952 amor de cosmos

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 07:43 AM

The United States Special Forces conducted a ground operation in eastern Syria, targeting a senior member of the extremist Islamic State group (ISIS), officials said on Friday.

The commando raid, which took place in the town of al-Mayadin in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor province, led to the death of the top ISIS jihadist Abdurakhmon al-Uzbeki.

“It was a ground operation. I think that’s all we’re willing to say about that,” US Central Command spokesman John Thomas said in Washington in relation to Friday’s attack.

Al-Uzbeki, believed to be from Uzbekistan, was a close associate to the ISIS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.



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