(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. military drone strike in northwest Syria has killed the top ISIS leader in Syria, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.
The drone strike is the latest in a series of operations targeting terrorist leaders who have found refuge in a region of the country controlled by rebel forces affiliated with Islamic extremists groups.
U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the strike occurred on Tuesday outside of Jindayris in northwest Syria targeting two senior ISIS leaders.
“Maher al-Agal, one of the top five ISIS leaders and the leader of ISIS in Syria, was killed in the strike,” said the statement.
“A senior ISIS official closely associated with Maher was seriously injured during the strike,” it added. “Extensive planning went into this operation to ensure its successful execution. An initial review indicates there were no civilian casualties.”
Al-Agal was also described as “aggressively pursuing the development of ISIS networks outside of Iraq and Syria.”
“This strike reaffirms CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said Col. Joe Buccino, a CENTCOM spokesperson. “The removal of these ISIS leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks.”
The strike is the latest in a series of U.S. military operations in northwest Syria over the past month targeting the leaders of Islamic terrorist groups who have found refuge in a corner of Syria still controlled by rebel forces belonging to Islamic extremist groups.
On June 15, a rare ground raid into northwest Syria carried out by elite special operations forces captured a Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, a senior ISIS leader involved in actively planning ISIS operations.
Two weeks later, a drone strike killed Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a senior leader of an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group, officials said.
“ISIS continues to represent a threat to the U.S. and partners in the region,” said Buccino, the CENTCOM spokesman.
“CENTCOM maintains a sufficient and sustainable presence in the region and will continue to counter threats against regional security,” the spokesman said.
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