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U.S. troops carry out raid in Syria against "senior" ISIS official

ISIS senior leader believed killed in Syria
ISIS senior leader believed to be killed during raid in Syria 03:41

U.S. forces have carried out a rare raid in Syria in territory held by dictator Bashar Assad's regime targeting the ISIS terror group. CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick said the U.S. military's Central Command would confirm only that American forces had conducted a raid in northeast Syria targeting a "senior" ISIS official, releasing no further details.

A U.S. official told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin the raid involved U.S. special operations forces who swept in by helicopter. The official said one person was killed and another wounded, but that the military was still working to confirm their identities. There were no U.S. casualties.

US troops train YPG/PKK in Syria
U.S. forces provide military training to members of Kurdish militias at the Al-Malikiyah district in Syria's Al-Hasakah province, September 7, 2022. Hedil Amir/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Syrian state television had reported earlier that one person was killed in the raid by airborne forces and others were captured. The operation was the latest U.S. effort to clamp down on ISIS jihadists who have been territorially defeated, but still manage to plan and carry out attacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

"CENTCOM forces conducted a raid in northeast Syria targeting a senior ISIS official," spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said in a statement sent to CBS News and other outlets, adding that more information would be provided once "operational details" were confirmed.

Syria's state broadcaster said a U.S. airborne operation involving multiple helicopters left one person dead and saw several others captured in a government-controlled area of Syria's northeast, which is mostly dominated by Kurdish forces who were long U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS.

The targeted village, Muluk Saray, sits only about 10 miles south of the Kurdish-held city of Qamishli, and is controlled by pro-regime militias, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group that relies on an extensive network of contacts inside Syria.

Thursday's raid was the first such airborne operation conducted in government-held territory since the start of Syria's war in 2011, the Observatory said, adding that the person killed in the operation "had been a resident of the area for years."

At least two people were captured alive in the operation, a Syrian and an Iraqi, the monitoring group said.

A village resident told AFP that three U.S. helicopters carried the troops in for the operation. The resident said the forces raided a house, killing one person and taking several others captive.

"They used loudspeakers to call on residents to stay indoors" during the operation, the resident said.

The resident identified the victim as Abu Hayel, whom they said was not well known in the area but believed to have been displaced from Syria's Hassakeh province.

Head of ISIS terror group dead after overnight raid in Syria 07:46

The United States leads an international military coalition still battling ISIS in Syria. In July, the Pentagon said it had killed Syria's top ISIS jihadist in a drone strike in the northern part of the country. CENTCOM said he had been "one of the top five" ISIS leaders.

The July strike came five months after a nighttime U.S. raid in the town of Atme, which led to the death of the overall ISIS leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi. U.S. officials said Qurashi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.

After losing their last territory following a military onslaught backed by the U.S.-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of ISIS in Syria mostly retreated into desert hideouts. They have since used such hideouts to ambush Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops, while also continuing to mount attacks inside Iraq.

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