US Central Command said Wednesday that it launched an airstrike in northwest Syria that killed an al-Qaeda leader but did not name the target or release other details of the strike, and local reports suggest a civilian was killed.
“At 11:42 a.m. local time on May 3rd, US Central Command forces conducted a unilateral strike in Northwest Syria targeting a senior Al Qaeda leader,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a drone strike hit a poultry farm in the area and killed one person that hasn’t yet been identified.
Local sources later told the SOHR that a 60-year-old sheep herder not affiliated with any military faction was killed, suggesting the strike killed a civilian. CENTCOM said it would provide more information on the strike “as operational details become available.”
US drone strikes have a history of harming civilians, and the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting or lying about civilian casualties.
The strike targeted Syria’s northwest Idlib province, which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda-linked group. US drone strikes in the region in recent years have mainly targeted members of Hurras al-Din, an HTS/al-Qaeda offshoot. US drone strikes in the region have also targeted suspected ISIS members.