JENDERES, Syria — On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command announced it had killed at least one member of the five-man council heading the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria in a drone strike. Maher al-Aqal, responsible for the pursuit of developing ISIS networks outside Iraq and Syria, and another senior leader close to him, were killed.
Al-Aqal and his associate were killed in the Jinderes area in Turkish-occupied Cafrin (Afrin) not far from the Turkey–Syria border.
Since ISIS’s territorial defeat in Syria, the group’s senior leadership in the country has sought refuge in areas of Syria occupied by Turkey and run by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA). Two of ISIS’s self-proclaimed “caliphs” were killed in U.S.-led raids near the Turkish border without public Turkish participation.
The relationship between Turkey and ISIS has become grossly obvious and it is time for the international community to hold Turkey accountable for harboring and supporting ISIS terrorists who are holding IDs issued by Turkish intelligence. pic.twitter.com/Xulthg9jnN
— Farhad Shami (@farhad_shami) July 13, 2022
The statement revealed that the U.S. Central Command had extensively planned this operation in order to ensure its success. Preliminary information indicated that there were no civilian casualties.
U.S. Central Command spokesperson Colonel Joe Buccino stated that this strike reaffirms the U.S.’s continued commitment to fighting and eliminating ISIS.
The White House published a statement in which it declared that U.S. President Joe Biden considered that the death of al-Aqal would lead to the exit of the main ISIS terrorists from the field and would greatly limit ISIS’s ability to plan and carry out its operations in the region.
He also declared that the operation is a strong message to all terrorists who threaten the country and U.S. interests around the world.
Biden noted that the strike took place due to a resolute intelligence work and courage and skill of the armed forces.