A senior Islamic State (ISIS) leader was killed on Thursday night in a joint helicopter raid by the United States and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Four US troops and a working dog were injured during the operation in northeastern Syria.
Meanwhile, ISIS killed 53 people in the country’s central desert province of Homs under the control of the Syrian government and Iranian-backed militias, state news agency SANA reported on Friday.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also reported that 46 civilians who were collecting truffles and seven military fighters were killed by ISIS in the southern Al-Sokhna countryside in the desert.
US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on Friday that the targeted ISIS senior leader, Hamza al-Homsi, detonated a suicide vest during Thursday’s operation and the explosion wounded four troops and a working dog.
The senior ISIS leader was killed while the US service members and the working dog were taken to a medical facility in Iraq. CENTCOM stated that the wounded are in stable condition.
“Al-Homsi oversaw the group’s deadly terrorist network in eastern Syria before he was killed in the raid,” CENTCOM said.
Another ISIS assassination cell leader has been killed in a separate military operation launched on the same night. No civilians or SDF fighters were injured during the operations, according to CENTCOM.
ISIS sleeper cells have been recently carrying out attacks targeting civilians in central, northeastern and eastern areas of Syria despite their defeat in Syria in March 2019. At least 16 people, mostly civilians, were killed and 34 were kidnapped by the fundamentalist group in a similar attack last week, according to SOHR.
The US-led Global Coalition and SDF fighters regularly conduct joint operations against ISIS cells.