WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Tuesday that a US drone strike in Syria killed a leader of the Islamic State group.
In a news release, U.S. Central Command said that Maher al-Agal was killed on Tuesday and that a senior member of the Islamic State group. Who not named seriously hurt. Even though the Pentagon said there were no civilian deaths, it was not possible to confirm that right away.
The strike was done by the U.S. outside of Jindaris, a town in northwest Syria near the border with Turkey.
US drone strike in Syria
At the height of its power, the Islamic State group ruled over more than 8 million people and more than 40,000 square miles (103,600 square kilometres) that stretched from Syria to Iraq. The group’s territorial state fell apart in 2019, but its leaders have turned to guerilla tactics and have been able to “efficiently restructure themselves organizationally,” according to the nonpartisan Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
The attack on al-Agal comes a few months after Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the leader of the group, killed himself when American special forces raided his hideout. The US said that al-Qurayshi and some of his family members blew themselves up.
A group that keeps track of wars, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says that al-Agal was a well-known commander for the Islamic State group when it controlled Raqqa. In 2020, he moved to Afrin, which is further north and controlled by Turkish-backed groups. He was most recently a commander in Jaysh Al-Sharqiyyah, a group backed by Turkey.
Over the years, U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria have also gone after militants with ties to al-Qaeda. Abu Hamzah al Yemeni was a top leader of the Horas al-Din group. Last month, he killed by a U.S. drone strike.
The U.S. Central Command has said that violent extremist groups “continue to pose a threat to America and our allies” and that al-Qaeda-linked groups have used the rebel-held enclave in northwest Syria as a safe haven.