2023: Operations on Jihadi Leaders

The United States closely collaborated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab and Kurdish militia trained by the U.S., In their fight against ISIS in Syria. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) primarily deployed around 900 troops in northeastern Syria, where all the operations were conducted. By July 2023, the U.S. And its partners had successfully eliminated at least five senior ISIS officials and killed six other members of the terrorist organization.

On January 18, a collaborative helicopter raid conducted by U.S. And SDF forces in eastern Syria resulted in the apprehension of an ISIS operative who was engaged in organizing and assisting with ISIS activities within and beyond the region, as well as worldwide recruitment endeavors, as reported by CENTCOM.

Colonel Joe Buccino stated that the apprehension will hinder the capacity of the terrorist group to continue planning and executing assaults that jeopardize the security and stability of the region. A single civilian sustained minor injuries. Husam Hamid al Muslih al Maddad al Khayr, who served as a facilitator and logistician, and Abdallah Hamid Muslih al Maddad, another facilitator, both affiliated with ISIS Syria, were apprehended in eastern Syria through a combined operation involving U.S. And local forces on January 21.

The operation in Raqqa, carried out by the Martyrs’ sleeper cells, was a retaliatory mission against ISIS. In December 2022, six members of the SDF were killed in an attack by the Internal Security Forces, which was orchestrated by the ISIS battalion overseen by Maythan al Atallah. Along with other captured militants, Maythan al Atallah was responsible for the attack on the Internal Security Forces. The governor of Raqqa, who was an ISIS member, was also killed in the attack. The SDF forces were supported by coalition airpower. (January 26)

During a helicopter operation in northeastern Syria on February 16, a total of five individuals, including four U.S. Service members and a trained canine, sustained injuries in an explosion. The operation resulted in the elimination of Hamza al Homsi, a high-ranking ISIS leader, by U.S. And SDF forces.

On February 18th, a raid conducted by the SDF and U.S. Forces in eastern Syria led to the capture of an ISIS official named Batar, who was responsible for planning attacks and assembling improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in detention facilities run by the SDF.

CENTCOM included the information that his death would temporarily disrupt the organization’s ability to plot external attacks. According to CENTCOM, Khalid Al Ahmad Jabouri, a senior leader of ISIS, who had developed the structure and planned attacks in Europe, was killed in a drone strike by the United States in Syria.

“ISIS remains a threat to the Middle East and beyond, with its vile ideology and desire to conduct operations in Syria, Iraq, and the wider region. This commitment to defeat ISIS is reaffirmed through ongoing operations,” said Col. Buccino, spokesperson for CENTCOM. “On April 8th, U.S. Forces captured two associates and an ISIS facilitator in Yemen’s al Hudayfah, further demonstrating our capability to strike against the group.”

The raid conducted in northern Syria on April 17th by U.S. Forces does not eliminate ISIS’ capability, but it delivers a significant blow to ISIS operations in the region. “ISIS retains the desire to strike beyond the region,” said Col. Buccino, spokesperson for CENTCOM. The raid, which involved a helicopter attack in Syria, resulted in the killing of two armed individuals as well as Ali, Haji Mahmud al Hadi Abd, a senior leader in Syria who coordinated attacks in Europe and the Middle East.

Turkey joined the global alliance to combat ISIS in 2015. The ISIS chief was allegedly discovered in Jindires, located in the northern area of Afrin. The operation was publicly announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on television the next day, specifically on April 29. In Syria, Abu al Husayn al Qurayshi, the ISIS leader, was eliminated by Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency.

In the Syrian province of Dar’a, during mid-October 2022, the caliph was assassinated by The Free Syrian Army, a group supported by Turkey that opposes the Assad government, as reported by CENTCOM. Abu al Hassan al Hashimi al Qurayshi, the former leader of ISIS, was declared deceased in combat when Qurayshi assumed the role of caliph on November 30, 2022. Following this, no public declarations were made, and he maintained a discreet presence.

On August 3, 2023, ISIS finally acknowledged Qurayshi’s demise, asserting that he perished in combat against Hayat Tahrir al Sham, an extremist organization that has maintained authority over certain regions of northwestern Syria since at least 2017. Additionally, the group announced the appointment of Abu Hafs al Hashimi al Qurayshi as their new caliph.