Syrians say US used secretive 'ninja' missile again in Idlib

The US uses the “ninja” missiles in this part of Syria allegedly to avoid collateral damage and evidence that the US is even operating there

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base (photo credit: REUTERS)
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A US drone fired a “ninja” missile at a truck in Salqin, Syria, but did not kill anyone, locals said on Tuesday. This is the R9X missile, a modified Hellfire missile that can be launched from US armed drones, such as the Reaper. The US has used it around a half-dozen times in northern Syria against individuals linked to al-Qaeda or other Islamic extremists. Because it has swords that pop out in place of a warhead, the missile carves up the target on impact, leaving a bloody mess but not harming others nearby.
Salqin is a town in the rolling hills near the Turkish border, about 12 km. from the border town of Reyhanli in Turkey. This is an area where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also operated before a US raid killed him in October 2019. In fact, Barisha, where Baghdadi died, is about a 30 km.-drive from Salqin. A good driver can do this trip in 45 minutes on winding roads. The area has been controlled by Islamic extremists for most of the Syrian civil war and Turkey now occupies a large extent of the area. Turkey also illegally occupied Afrin in northern Syria, an area it ethnically cleansed of Kurds, and sent Syrian extremists it recruited to control it. This is now a hotbed of extremist groups, which have their origins in al-Qaeda and sometimes are still linked to it. These groups operate openly under Turkish protection. Turkey is a member of NATO, but many ISIS members have found refuge in Turkey or have transited through Turkey to parts of Syria. Turkey also hosts Hamas terrorists.
The US uses the “ninja” missiles in this part of Syria allegedly to avoid collateral damage and to leave no evidence that the US is even operating here. Nevertheless, US drones have been seen on video and it is an open secret that extremists here are on US wanted lists.
Syrians in the area reportedly said there were no casualties in the recent attack, which points either to a failure of US intelligence or a purposeful campaign of lies from locals to hide what really happened. The usual gruesome images of bodily remains have not been shown. It appears the missile may have failed to find the correct target, the identity of which is not clear. Experts who follow the use of the “ninja” weapon point to similarities between it and incidents on December 3 and September 14, according to the site Within Syria online.
The Jerusalem Post reported on the use of this weapon in June and July.