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US captures ISIS terrorist official in helicopter raid

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the “Merlins” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman)
September 26, 2023

In a significant boost for U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the tumultuous region of northern Syria, an operator of the Islamic State extremist group, Abu Halil al-Fad’ani, was captured by the U.S. military during a helicopter operation.

The United States Central Command, revealing details of the Saturday raid, stated, “Abu Halil al-Fad’ani was assessed to have relationships throughout the ISIS network in the region.”

U.S. Central Command also noted that no civilians were injured or killed during the helicopter raid operation.

Lt. Col. Troy Garlock, a command spokesman, expressed optimism that al-Fad’ani’s capture could allow the U.S. military to target additional ISIS members.

“The capture of ISIS officials like al-Fad’ani increases our ability to locate, target, and remove terrorists from the battlefield,” he said. “USCENTCOM remains committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS.” 

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. military’s persistent focus on eradicating the remnants of the Islamic State remains evident, as the U.S. military has roughly 900 troops currently stationed in Syria. The Islamic State had a dominant presence in the region until 2019.

READ MORE: U.S. releases footage of Russian jets harassing U.S. drones over Syria

The helicopter raid coincided with the implementation of a curfew by U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces due to ongoing skirmishes with Arab militiamen.

The Associated Press noted that reports have emerged from Syrian media and activist channels that explain how the Syrian Democratic Forces declared the curfew in various towns in Deir el-Zour province, notably in Ziban, which is near the Iraqi border, which hosts a significant American military base.

The Deir el-Zour province holds Syria’s largest oil fields and has witnessed the continued presence of hundreds of U.S. troops since 2015.

Syria continues to grapple with a devastating 12-year civil war that has claimed the lives of 500,000 people. The Syrian government, under the leadership of President Bashar Assad in Damascus, perceives the Kurdish-led forces as rebel factions.

The partnership of the Kurdish-led forces with the United States, especially in the battle against the Islamic State militants and their stronghold in eastern Syria, has been a point of contention and criticism from the Assad regime.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.