US claims to have killed Islamic State leader in Syria

Maher Al-Agal, defined by the Pentagon as “one of the top five leaders of IS”, was hit by a drone while riding a motorcycle in northern Syria. The leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist organization in Syria was killed in a US drone operation, the US Department of Defense announced on Tuesday (12/07).

Maher Al-Agal, described by the Pentagon as “one of the top five leaders of IS”, was killed while riding a motorcycle near the northern Syrian city of Jindires, said Pentagon central command spokesman Lt. -Colonel Dave Eastburn.

US claims to have killed Islamic State leader in Syria

US claims to have killed Islamic State leader in Syria

Photo: Poder360

In the same attack, Al-Agal’s closest adviser was “severely injured”, the Pentagon said, adding that there were no civilian casualties.

“In addition to being a high-ranking leader within the group, Al-Agal was responsible for aggressively pursuing the development of IS networks outside Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

“The removal of these IS leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to plan and carry out global attacks,” he added.

According to the NGO Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), the attack resulted in the death of Al-Agal and his companion.

The Syrian Civil Defense NGO, also known as “White Helmets”, confirmed that one person was killed and another injured in an attack that targeted a motorcycle on the outskirts of Aleppo, but did not identify the victims.

Ahrar al-Sharqiya Group

A spokesman for the US-allied Syrian Kurdish Democratic Forces said the two men hit had links to Ahrar al-Sharqiya, an armed group operating in northern Syria.

The group includes former leaders and members of the Islamic State and other jihadist groups and has already carried out attacks on Kurdish targets inside Turkish-held areas in northern Syria.

Ahrar al-Sharqiya was responsible for the 2019 assassination of prominent Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf, which drew international condemnation.

In July 2021, the US Treasury placed the group on its sanctions list. “Ahrar al-Sharqiya committed a number of crimes against civilians, particularly Syrian Kurds, including murder, kidnapping, torture and seizure of private property,” the Treasury said.

It said the group controls a large prison complex outside Aleppo “where hundreds have been executed since 2018”. The prison is also used to coordinate kidnapping operations, which target businessmen and opposition politicians in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

Other attacks

The last two killings of Islamic State leaders took place in Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria, where groups such as Ahrar al-Sharqiya are active and have local knowledge of the terrain and families.

Tuesday’s death comes five months after a US nighttime attack on the city of Atme that led to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. According to US officials, Quraysh died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.

Last month, a US drone strike killed a senior leader of the Horas al-Din group, Abu Hamzah al Yemeni.

le (Lusa, AP, AFP)

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