United States Special Forces carried out a major operation to apprehend ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in northwest Syria in the early hours of Feb. 3, 2022.
President Biden later announced the purpose of the operation which was initially unknown. He wrote, "Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation. Thanks to the bravery of our Armed Forces, we have removed from the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi - the leader of ISIS."
Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation. Thanks to the bravery of our Armed Forces, we have removed from the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi — the leader of ISIS.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 3, 2022
In addition to killing Al-Qurayshi, 13 other people were reportedly killed during the operation including six children and four women. Helicopters fired on houses and other structures as a fierce firefight broke out in the Syrian town Atimah.
And while the Pentagon said there were no U.S. casualties, reports of civilian deaths continue to rise as more information of the aftermath becomes available.
Opération commandos de la coalition internationale #US en cours près de la ville d’#Atma au nord de la région d’#Idlib. Plusieurs hélicoptères ont ouvert le feu sur différentes positions entre #Janderes et #Atma. pic.twitter.com/dVVB1io4E3— Moussa Al-Hassan (@MHReports) February 2, 2022
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported U.S. helicopters transported personnel into position around midnight. Then, statements in Arabic were blasted from loudspeakers mounted to the helicopters warning women and children in the area to evacuate.
Later in the night fighting broke out as U.S. soldiers and air support fired on houses in the town while militants fired back with rocket-propelled grenades and other arms.
Video recordings posted on Twitter around 2 a.m. show the fighting raging in the distance.
More footage of helicopter firing at a house in Atmeh tonight during a coalition raid. pic.twitter.com/DrFcvjX3lD— Kyle Glen (@KyleJGlen) February 3, 2022
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