The US military said Friday that a helicopter raid led by its forces in northeast Syria left a senior leader with the Islamic State group dead and four American service members wounded. The operation was conducted Thursday night in partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which is allied with the US, according to the statement. It added that "an explosion on target resulted in four US service members and one working dog wounded," the AP reports. The statement did not specify where in northeast Syria the raid was conducted. It identified the killed IS commander as Hamza al-Homsi.
Despite their defeat in Syria in March 2019, IS sleeper cells still conduct attacks around Syria and Iraq where they once declared a "caliphate." On Friday, IS gunmen in central Syria shot dead at least 36 people south of the town of Sukhna, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor. Pro-government radio station Sham FM reported the militants ambushed people who were foraging for wild truffles in the desert. State television put the death toll at 53. Joint operations between the US military and SDF fighters are common in northeast and eastern Syria along the border with Iraq.
The statement said the service members and working dog are receiving treatment in a US medical facility in neighboring Iraq. The US military has killed two IS leaders in Syria over the past few years. In February 2021, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in a US raid in northwest Syria. IS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hunted down by the Americans in a raid in October 2019. In October, the leader of IS, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in battle with Syrian rebels in southern Syria.
(More Islamic State