US special operations forces launched a rare raid in Syrian government-controlled territories in Syria, killing one person and arresting two more.
US Central Command said on Thursday that the raid was carried out overnight near the city of Qamishli and targeted an ISIS member. According to Al Jazeera, it was the “first known” US raid in Syrian-government-controlled territory.
According to CENTCOM, the raid targeted and killed Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri, an ISIS member accused of helping the group smuggle weapons. But the newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported a person with a different name was killed. A source told the newspaper that a person named Abu Hail, who was accused of collaborating with ISIS, was killed after refusing to surrender to US forces.
Later on Thursday, CENTCOM said it carried out airstrikes in an unspecified area in northern Syria. The command claimed two ISIS leaders were killed in the strikes and that its “initial assessment” found no civilians were harmed, but the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties.
There are currently about 900 US troops stationed in eastern Syria. The US also backs Kurdish forces in the region, allowing Washington to control about one-third of the country’s territory, an area where most of Syria’s oil resources are.
The Syrian government is opposed to the US occupation and called for US forces to leave during the recent UN General Assembly in New York. On top of the occupation, the US maintains crippling economic sanctions on Syria that are designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction.