IS leader killed in US operation in Syria

Et was a timely counterstrike. The “Islamic State” (IS) had just launched a spectacular large-scale attack on a prison, turning the Syrian city of Hassakeh into a battlefield for days, on which the American military also intervened. The days of chaos and violence in north-eastern Syria have been a clear sign that IS has been able to grow underground in recent years. But the psychological success of IS has now fizzled out. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden reported that ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi had been “taken off the battlefield” in north-western Syria.

Not much is known about the man. According to the UN Security Council and secret service reports, it is a Turkmen born in 1976 in Iraq from the town of Tell Afar. “Caliph Ibrahim” comes from the founding generation of the IS. He was an adjutant to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the first IS “caliph”, and is said to have been chosen by himself as his successor. He worked in the shadows, but according to UN experts he should have played a role in the revival of the terrorist organization. The IS, which would have liked to exploit Hassakeh’s attack a bit more, is now busy determining a successor.

The killed IS chief as a prisoner of US forces in Iraq in an undated picture

The killed IS chief as a prisoner of US forces in Iraq in an undated picture

Image: AFP

Reports of the nighttime special forces operation released Thursday from local sources and the US government are reminiscent of those of the action that led to Baghdadi’s death in October 2019. It starts with the scene: In both cases it was the north-west Syrian province of Idlib. According to the reports, around two dozen elite soldiers flew to the scene on Thursday night – with fighter jets, attack helicopters and armed drones as aerial backup. The access action is said to have lasted several hours, shots of firefights were distributed. According to the information, there were no casualties on the American side. A helicopter had to be destroyed because it was no longer airworthy.

women and children among the dead

The Syrian civil defense, which later recovered bodies from the destroyed shelter, reported 13 dead on Thursday afternoon, including women and children. According to a US official, al-Quraishi blew himself up, like Baghdadi, when commandos stormed his shelter. It is possible that the victims were killed by the explosion with which the jihadist leader evaded arrest.

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