Kurdish forces in north and east Syria said that they had nothing to do with the death of the recent leader of ISIS, Abu al-Hasan al-Qurashi, either directly or indirectly, and stated that protecting the people and Kurdish areas amid the recent Turkish operations towards North and East Syria was their top priority.
“Despite this, our forces are struggling to prevent the increasing threat of ISIS, whether by conducting organized pre-emptive strikes to prevent ISIS from taking advantage of the conditions created by Turkish aggression or by preventing ISIS mercenaries from attacking the prisons and the camps that house ISIS families,” added the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
ISIS announced on 30 November that its leader has been killed in combat, without elaborating on the date or circumstances of his death, reported Al Jazeera.
Following the announcement, US Central Command CENTCOM released a statement, also on 30 November, that the leader was killed in mid-October.
“This operation was conducted by The Free Syrian Army in Dar’a province in Syria. ISIS remains a threat to the region. CENTCOM and our partners remain focused on the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said Col. Joe Buccino, U.S. CENTCOM spokesperson.
Washington said that the United States remains committed to countering the global threat from ISIS and stands ready to work with international partners who share that same goal.
Following the killing of previous ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in February, US President Joe Biden thanked the SDF for helping them in his killing. Abu Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi had become the latest leader of the organisation since then.
Hassan Hassan, the author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror told Reuters that ISIS does not have iconic, charismatic leaders any more, adding that the group had diminished.
Meanwhile, the SDF announced on 23 November that it was suspending its mission against ISIS due to the latest Turkish escalation in the SDF-held areas, reported North Press Agency.
Due to our forces' preoccupation with addressing the Turkish occupation, they cannot continue their mission of pursuing ISIS cells. Currently, we're forced to be preoccupied with confronting Turkish aggression.
Mazloum Abdi, Commander-in-Chief of the SDF
— Farhad Shami (@farhad_shami) November 23, 2022