US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a press release that US forces carried out a raid in eastern Syria early Sunday morning and killed two “ISIS officials.”
CENTCOM named one of the ISIS officials as “Anas” and said this person was involved “in the group’s deadly plotting and facilitation operations in eastern Syria.” The command claimed no civilians were harmed in the raid, but the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties, and very few details about the raid were released.
The US has launched multiple raids and drone strikes against ISIS in Syria over the past few months despite President Biden claiming US troops are not engaged in combat missions in the Middle East when he visited the region in July.
The US maintains an occupation force in eastern Syria of about 1,000 troops in eastern Syria and backs the Kurdish-led SDF, allowing Washington to control about one-third of the country.
While on paper, the US presence in Syria is about fighting ISIS, the group barely has a foothold in the country. The US occupation of eastern Syria is more about the economic war on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, a sworn enemy of ISIS.
Unhappy with the US efforts to prevent a Turkish ground offensive in northeast Syria, the SDF recently asked Russia to mediate a security deal with the Assad government. If the US leaves Syria, the SDF, the Syrian government, and its allies could cooperate against ISIS.
On top of the occupation, the US maintains crippling sanctions on Syria with the purpose of preventing the country from rebuilding after 11 years of war, and the pressure has had a devastating impact on Syrian civilians. The White House said in October that it has “no plans” to leave Syria or ease the sanctions.