US-led coalition detains Islamic State leader in Syria

The US-led coalition earlier carried out an early-morning helicopter landing operation in a part of northern Syria held by Turkish-backed rebels.

 A general view shows on February 3, 2022 the scene following an overnight raid by US special operations forces against suspected jihadists in Atme, in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib which left at least nine people dead including an ISIS commander. (photo credit: AAREF WATAD/AFP via Getty Images)
A general view shows on February 3, 2022 the scene following an overnight raid by US special operations forces against suspected jihadists in Atme, in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib which left at least nine people dead including an ISIS commander.
(photo credit: AAREF WATAD/AFP via Getty Images)

The US-led coalition forces detained on Thursday a senior Islamic State leader during an operation in Syria on June 16, a statement by the coalition said.

The US-led coalition earlier carried out an early-morning helicopter landing operation in a part of northern Syria held by Turkish-backed rebels, a spokesperson for the rebel group told Reuters, in what he said was the first raid of its kind in the area.

The US-led coalition, formed to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Coalition convoy of US led international coalition against ISIS stops to test fire their M2 machine guns and MK19 grenade launcher in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in the Deir Ezzor province, Syria, November 22, 2018 (credit: COURTESY MATTHEW CRANE/US ARMY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)A Coalition convoy of US led international coalition against ISIS stops to test fire their M2 machine guns and MK19 grenade launcher in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in the Deir Ezzor province, Syria, November 22, 2018 (credit: COURTESY MATTHEW CRANE/US ARMY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

"Till now the circumstances are unclear," a spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) Major Youssef Hamoud told Reuters.

He said the operation, which has since ended, took place near the village of Al-Humaira, just a few kilometers from the Turkish border, and that US-made Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters were involved.

"This is the first (US) helicopter landing operation to happen" in areas under the SNA's control, he said.

The SNA includes groups that fought against Syrian government forces during the country's 11-year civil war. It is a rival of other armed groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda-backed jihadists.

A source in touch with rebels in the area said clashes erupted during the operation.

US-led forces have in the past carried out helicopter landing operations and drone strikes in areas of northern Syria controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces and to the west in Idlib where jihadist rebels formerly linked to Al Qaeda hold sway.

United States special forces in February undertook a helicopter landing operation to the west in Syria's Idlib province controlled by jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashemi Al-Quraishi.