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US reportedly kills senior ISIS leader in Syria
The US military has been stepping up the assassination of leaders of militant groups, despite years of providing funding and weaponry to Al-Qaeda linked militants
By News Desk - July 13 2022
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ISIS sign in the Syrian desert. (Photo credit: AFP/Getty images)

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on 12 July the successful targeting of a senior ISIS leader with a drone strike on Syrian territory.

“US Central Command Forces conducted a UAS strike outside Jindayris, northwest Syria targeting two senior ISIS officials, July 12, 2022,” CENTCOM stated in their press release.

“Maher al-Agal, one of the top five ISIS leaders and the leader of ISIS in Syria, was killed in the strike […] A senior ISIS official closely associated with Maher was seriously injured during the strike,” the US military command added.

The drone strike did not cause any civilian casualties, according to initial reviews.

“The removal of these ISIS leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out attacks,” said CENTCOM spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino.

Commenting on the operation, US President Joe Biden said it “takes a key terrorist off the field and significantly degrades the ability of ISIS to plan, resource, and conduct their operations in the region.”

CENTCOM claims Al-Agal was working on operations outside of Iraq and Syria, the two nations where the now fragmented ISIS had a former stronghold.

Over the past few months, the US military has been stepping up its illegal military presence in Syria, targeting the senior leaders of various militant groups.

The US targeted a senior leader of a militant group linked to Al-Qaeda in the Idlib governorate of Syria on 27 June. The target, Abu Hamzah al-Yemeni of the Hurras al-Din militant group, was hit by two rockets.

The US has financed and armed the rebel insurgency in Syria since 2011, under the pretext of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

The CIA had covertly supported the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was allied with the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, known as Al-Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon supported the Kurdish militia group, the Peoples Protection Units (YPG), which is now absorbed into the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents from 2012 show how the White House knew that the FSA, the main insurgents in Syria, consisted of “the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq].”

The documents also show that the US accepted these militant groups and hoped for a ‘Salafist principality’ to emerge in eastern Syria.

Salafism is an ideology similar to Wahhabism, which believes in shedding the blood of those who do not agree with their version of Islam.

Various militant groups, such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, ascribe to the same ideology.

Recent reports suggest that the US base in Al-Tanf, Syria is providing support to ISIS militants in preparation for renewed insurgencies against the Syrian army, government, and civilian targets in the capital city Damascus.

Additional reports have claimed that the CIA is actively working to recruit ISIS militants imprisoned by the SDF in northeast Syria to join the fight against the Russian army in Ukraine.

US troops and the SDF are in control of most of the oil fields in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor governorates and have been regularly smuggling Syrian oil out of the country to sell it abroad.

Syria is experiencing an economic crisis due to the effects of the war and US sanctions, with a looming food crisis exacerbated by the effect of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the global wheat supply. More than 12 million Syrians do not have enough to eat.

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