Islamic State fighters in northern Syria in 2014

The US has killed three senior members of the Islamic State in attacks in northeast Syria.

A US helicopter raid, inside territory controlled by the Assad regime in Hasakeh Province, killed Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri. US Central Command said he was “known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters”. Another ISIS member was wounded and two detained.

One resident said US helicopters landed in the village of Muluk Saray after midnight, telling people by loudspeaker to stay indoors and to leave lights off. The operation lasted several hours, with no exchange of fire.

A later strike slew Abu-Hashum al-Umawi, described as an ISIS leader, and another senior member.

Attacked by both the US-supported, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the Russian-enabled Assad regime army, the Islamic State lost its last village in Syria in March 2019. However, ISIS cells continue to operate, with deadly attacks on regime troops.

See also Islamic State Kills 13 Assad Troops in Bus Attack in Eastern Syria

A “security source” said al-Shammri coordinated the ISIS sleeper cells in Hasakeh Province. A second source said US forces took his body with them as they left regime territory.

A local source said al-Shammri had moved to Muluk Saray from Taif, a town near the border with Iraq that was once an ISIS stronghold: “People thought he was a shepherd – no one knew his true identity.”