ISIS leader dies in US operation in Syrian opposition stronghold

February 3, 2022

Noemí Jabois Beirut, Feb 3 (EFE) .- The leader of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Qurashi, died this Thursday along with twelve other people in a US operation in northwestern Syria, days after the terrorists staged a riot in the Geweran prison, their largest action in the country since 2019. According to the details revealed by the US president, Joe Biden, the leader blew himself up “in a final act of cowardice”, causing the death of several members of his family, after special US troops descended after midnight on Wednesday in the village of Atme, in the Syrian province of Idlib. According to the White Helmets, a rescue group operating in opposition-controlled areas of Syria and tasked with treating the wounded and recovering bodies, a total of 13 people died during the intervention, including six children. and four women. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) confirmed the death of the six minors. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an NGO based in the United Kingdom and a wide network of collaborators on the ground, assured that “a woman of non-Syrian nationality deliberately committed suicide with an explosive belt during the operation and her body was pieces”. LOUDSPEAKERS AND A BOOST BELT Like most of Idlib, Syria’s last opposition stronghold, the village of Atme, is controlled by the Levant Liberation Agency, which includes al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate, formerly known as al-Nusra Front. A member of the Agency was killed “by mistake” during the operation in this border town with the Turkish town of Iskanderun, according to the Observatory, which also estimated the fatalities at 13. According to the NGO, a part of the tenants of the property surrendered to the US troops, which did not prevent the outbreak of armed clashes between the parties or the intervention of fighter planes from the international coalition led by Washington that fights against IS. A neighbor who identified himself as Abu Ammar explained to Epa, an agency owned by Efe, that there were negotiations for about 30 minutes, then a brief confrontation and, finally, the firing of rockets intensely for more than an hour. “Suddenly there was a loud noise that scared us all, I opened the window around 00:55 (22:55 GMT) and saw four helicopters and a landing of more than 50 soldiers; they began to say through the loudspeakers that all the plants must be evacuated. of the house,” he said. His father, Mohamed al-Sheikh, is the owner of the house that is the target of the US action and stated in statements to Epa that he had rented it for almost a year to a man from the neighboring province of Aleppo. The tenant, who “had a car and worked delivering orders,” lived with his wife and three children in the house in Atme, a relatively quiet town known for hosting dozens of camps for people displaced within Syria by the armed conflict that began more than of a decade. THE LARGEST ACTION IN THREE YEARS The assassination of Al Qurashi, who succeeded Abu Bakr al Baghdadi after he too was killed in a very similar raid by Washington in Idlib in October 2019, comes days after a major riot in the Geweran prison. The Kurdish-Syrian forces, allies of Washington in the fight against the jihadists, announced this week the end of the riot in the facilities with nearly 5,000 prisoners, including important IS leaders, in the northeastern province of Al Hasaka. The uprising began on January 20 with the help of freed terrorists, who blew up a car bomb near the prison and then barricaded themselves in nearby civilian homes, in the largest IS action since it was expelled from all the territories it controlled. in Syria almost three years ago. According to data from the Democratic Syrian Forces, an alliance led by Kurds in charge of security in the northeast of the country, the around ten days of violence resulted in 495 deaths, mostly jihadists, and the uprising was made possible thanks to a planning for months within the EI. Currently, the group has cells active in the vast desert of central Syria, where they regularly attack government and Kurdish forces, while thousands of their fighters and relatives have been held for three years in prisons and camps guarded by Kurdish Syrians and forgotten by the international community. EFE ar-njd/fc/si (photo) (audio) (video)