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US commandos capture 6 Islamic State officials in raids in Syria


U.S. forces patrolling in northeastern Syria last week.

By Eric Schmitt


For the second time in just over a week, U.S. Special Operations forces carried out helicopter raids against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, this time capturing six operatives including a senior official who the military said was involved in plotting and enabling terrorist attacks.


The U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. troops in Syria, said in a statement Tuesday that the main target of three pre-dawn raids over the past 48 hours was a senior Islamic State Syria provincial official known by the nom de guerre al-Zubaydi.


On Dec. 11, helicopter-borne U.S. commandos swooped in on another Islamic State official, known as Anas, killing him and an associate in a nearly three-hour gunbattle in eastern Syria, the military said.


In this week’s assault, personnel from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, the U.S. counterterrorism partner in northeastern Syria, accompanied the U.S. troops, the military said.


“These partnered operations reaffirm CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, the head of the command, said in a statement, using an alternative name for the Islamic State. “The capture of these ISIS operatives will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out destabilizing attacks.”


No Americans were injured in the raids, officials said. An initial assessment indicated that no civilians were killed or injured, the military statement said.

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