Two ISIL rebels killed in US helicopter raid in Syria: CENTCOM

US Central Command announces the killing less than two weeks after ISIL announced its leader was killed in battle.

United States forces have killed two members of the ISIL (ISIS) armed group in eastern Syria in a helicopter raid, the US military said in a statement on Sunday without specifying the location of the overnight operation.

The forces “conducted a successful helicopter raid in eastern Syria at 2:57am (23:57 GMT)… killing two ISIS officials,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, using an alternative acronym for ISIL.

It claimed there were no civilian casualties in its initial assessments of the operation.

One of those killed was identified by a first name, “Anas”, the CENTCOM statement said, adding that he was involved in the group’s deadly “plotting and facilitation operations in eastern Syria”.

The killing comes less than two weeks after ISIL announced that its leader Abu Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in battle. The US said al-Qurayshi was killed in an operation conducted by rebel forces in the southern city of Deraa in October.

Little had been known about Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who took over the group’s leadership following the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi, his predecessor, in a US raid in February in northwest Syria’s Idlib province.

Al-Qurayshi is believed to be a nom de guerre that various ISIL leaders have adopted.

The ISIL group, which captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, was defeated by an international military coalition led by the US. The armed group lost its last stronghold in 2019 but ISIL sleeper cells continue to carry out deadly attacks in Syria and Iraq.

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