The US-led military coalition in Syria has reportedly captured a senior leader of Daesh, in what is the latest in a series of interventions of the terror group's leadership over the past year.
In a ground raid operation in the early hours of this morning, coalition forces swept down in helicopters towards the site of an abandoned building in north-west Syria, according to reports and eyewitness testimonies.
Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led coalition in Syria, then announced in a statement that "Coalition forces detained a senior Daesh leader during an operation in Syria 16 June". The statement revealed that the captured figure "was assessed to be an experienced bomb maker and facilitator who became one of the group's top leaders in Syria."
The coalition assured that "There were no civilians harmed during the operation, nor any damage to Coalition aircraft or assets", stating the mission was "meticulously planned to minimise the risk of collateral damage, particularly any potential harm to civilians".
According to US General Erik Kurilla, the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) who spoke to ABC News, the name of the senior Daesh figure is Hani Ahmed Al-Kurdi. Prior to his capture, he had reportedly been actively planning militant operations in the region.
"Though degraded, ISIS [Daesh] remains a threat. We remain dedicated to its defeat. Last night's operation, which took a senior ISIS operator off the battlefield, demonstrates our commitment to the security of the Middle East and to the enduring defeat of ISIS," Kurilla said.
Although the US-led coalition did not clarify where the raid took place, Major Youssef Hamoud – a spokesman for the Turkish-backed opposition group the Syrian National Army (SNA) – told the news agency, Reuters, that the coalition forces and their helicopters had conducted the operation in the village of Al-Humaira, directly south of the Turkish border.
If the raid was indeed carried out there, it would be the first time such an operation against a leading Daesh figure was conducted in SNA-held territory. Previous operations – such as those which tracked down and killed the former Daesh leaders, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in 2019 and Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi in February this year – took place in north-west Syrian territories controlled by rebel group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham.