US Central Command announced Monday that US commandos conducted a successful early morning helicopter raid on an ISIS hideout in northern Syria, resulting in the death of a suspected senior Syrian ISIS leader.
CENTCOM said the target, Abd-al-Hadi Mahmud al-Haji Ali, has been confirmed killed, in an operation that was launched based on intelligence saying ISIS was plotting to kidnap officials abroad. But US officials didn't name any target countries where such plots might be executed.
"We know ISIS retains the desire to strike beyond the Middle East," CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino asserted in a statement. "This raid deals a significant blow to ISIS operations in the region but does not eliminate ISIS’ capability to conduct operations."
"Two other armed individuals were killed on the target," the statement continued, and claimed that no civilians were killed or injured in the raid. Additionally, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Erik Kurilla described: "Though degraded, ISIS remains able to conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East," and vowed to "continue the relentless campaign against ISIS."
Lately there have been bipartisan efforts to force President Biden to pull all American troops out of Syria. So far these Congressional moves have failed, but it has increased the pressure on the administration and the Pentagon to seek to justify the years-long occupation.
The "answer" has been to attempt to show the American public that ISIS remains a threat that "requires" the Pentagon's ongoing presence. But the reality is that the US is occupying the country's oil and gas producing region, effectively blocking the Assad government and population from accessing its own vital resources, also at a moment of Washington's far-reaching sanctions which has increased the suffering of common people.
But it's also true that ISIS continues to strike, as international reports highlighted over the weekend:
A truffle hunter was killed Sunday by a suspected ISIS fighter in the Syrian desert.
The civilian was in the Hama province, east of the city of Hama when an unknown gunman shot and killed him, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. The killing is the latest example of the dangers of hunting for the edible underground desert fungus.
Twelve more civilians were also attacked in the area. They were said to be members of the Al-Bosraya tribe, according to SOHR. Four escaped while the other eight have not been unaccounted for. Hunters were also fired upon, again by suspected ISIS members, on Saturday.
Truffle trapping is a common practice in Syria where truffles command a high price on the market. They can be sold for up to $35 per kilogram, The New York Times reports. Hunters may earn more than $400 per day by selling what they find.
There have been other reports of a spate of killings related to impoverished Syrians collecting truffles, likely by ISIS:
The Syrian Army and its Russian and Iranian partner forces have also been directly waging war on remnant ISIS terrorists. All three countries have actually at various times accused the US of allowing ISIS and other Islamist terrorists cells to fester, in order to falsely justify the ongoing occupation of a sovereign country.