US special forces launch counter-terrorism raid in northwest Syria



2022-02-03 13:09:00

A broken constructing is seen in the aftermath of a counter-terrorism mission carried out by the U.S. Special Operations Forces in Atmeh, Syria, February 3, 2022 in this image obtained from social media. Picture: Reuters 
  • Pentagon says there have been no US casualties in counter-terrorism mission.
  • Atmeh residents say midnight raid passed off in a densely populated space close to border with Turkey.
  • Report a number of civilian casualties saying raid focused a suspected al Qaeda militant.

AMMAN: The US Special Operations forces efficiently carried out a counter-terrorism mission in northwest Syria on Thursday, the Pentagon stated, including there have been no US casualties however gave no additional particulars.

Residents of the northwest Syrian city of Atmeh and rebels preventing the Syrian authorities earlier reported a number of civilian casualties in the two-hour operation, saying the raid was believed to have focused a suspected al Qaeda-affiliated militant.

“US Special Operations forces under the control of US Central Command conducted a counter-terrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria. The mission was successful,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stated in an announcement.

“There were no US casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

Residents of Atmeh stated the raid passed off round midnight in a densely populated space close to the border with Turkey, the place tens of 1000’s of displaced Syrians stay in makeshift camps or overcrowded housing.

There have been no studies of any militants being killed, however residents stated they heard heavy gunfire throughout the operation, indicating resistance to the raid.

One resident stated a number of folks had been killed in the raid, whereas one other stated rescuers pulled out no less than 12 our bodies from the rubble of a multi-storey constructing, together with youngsters and ladies.

Charles Lister, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Center East Institute, stated he had spoken to residents who stated the operation lasted greater than two hours.

“Clearly they wanted whoever it was alive,” Lister stated.

“This looks like the biggest of this type of operation” for the reason that Baghdadi raid, he stated.

Daesh chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in a US special operations raid in northwest Syria in 2019.

Residents and insurgent sources stated a number of helicopters landed close to Atmeh in the province of Idlib, the final huge enclave held by insurgents preventing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and explosions had been heard close to the house of a international militant.

The militant who was the suspected focused was along with his household on the time of the raid, stated a insurgent official who declined to be named.

Witnesses stated the raid ended with plane believed to be choppers leaving the positioning, however unidentified reconnaissance planes had been nonetheless hovering in the realm.

The insurgent official stated safety from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group hurried to the placement after the raid.

The northwest of Syria — Idlib province and a belt of territory round it — is generally held by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the previous Nusra Entrance, which was a part of al Qaeda till 2016.

A number of international militant figures who break up from the group have arrange the Huras al-Din (Guardians of Faith) group, designated as a international terrorist organisation, which has in current years been the goal of coalition strikes.

For years, the US army has launched largely drones to kill high al-Qaeda operatives in northern Syria, the place the militant group turned energetic throughout Syria’s over decade-long civil conflict.

US-led coalition operations towards remnants of ISIS sleeper cells are extra frequent in northeast Syria held by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

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