US Central Command on Sunday said that it killed an ISIS “leader” in a drone strike in eastern Syria that it launched on July 7 and suggested that a civilian may have also been injured in the bombing.
“On July 7, US Central Command conducted a strike in Syria that resulted in the death of Usamah al-Muhajir, an ISIS leader in eastern Syria,” CENTCOM said in a press release.
The press release said there were no “indications” that civilians were killed in the strike but that CENTCOM was “assessing reports of a civilian injury.” A recent CENTCOM drone strike launched on May 3 killed a civilian in northwest Syria.
CENTCOM has been accusing Russia of “harassing” its drones over Syria and said the MQ-9 Reaper drone that launched the July 7 strike was “the same MQ-9s that had, earlier in the day, been harassed by Russian aircraft in an encounter that had lasted almost two hours.”
Russia is an ally of the Syrian government based in Damascus, which opposes the US occupation of eastern Syria. Damascus and its allies are all sworn enemies of ISIS and would continue fighting the terrorist group if the US pulled out of Syria.
Operations against ISIS serve as the US justification to keep about 900 troops in Syria and back the Kurdish-led SDF, but the occupation is part of the US economic war against Damascus, which includes controlling Syrian oil fields and crippling economic sanctions that are designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction.