US special forces carried out a midnight raid deep into the heart of government-controlled territory in Syria that killed an ‘ISIS leader’ and took others captive, two security sources said.
Local sources said that US troops landed in the village Muluk Saray in the countryside of the Qamishli region in north east Syria, where territory is controlled between US-backed Kurdish fighters and the Russia-backed government.
Sources told news channel Al Mayadeen that the victim was named Rakan Abu Hayel from the village of Tuwaimin in the eastern countryside.
The family of the slain man and members of another family were arrested and taken into US custody, they claim.
‘US occupation forces carried out a landing operation using several helicopters in the village of Muluk Saray in the southern countryside of Qamishli and killed one person,’ Syria’s state broadcaster said, without elaborating.
A local village resident named the victim as Abu Hayel, a little-known displaced person from Hassakeh.
The resident said that three US helicopters carrying troops had landed in the overnight operation.
‘They used loudspeakers to call on residents to stay indoors’ during the operation, the resident said.
During the operation US forces engaged in a firefight with auxiliary forces of the Syrian army, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik. There are no reports of casualties.
Around 50 US special forces soldiers were reported to be involved in the daring raid in multiple helicopters.
The person killed in the operation ‘had been a resident of the area for years and is likely an Islamic State’ group leader, the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said.
It is the first such operation in government-held territory, the war monitoring group added, which relies on a wide network of sources in Syria.
The US armed forces’ Central Command (CENTCOM) said it currently has ‘no information to provide’.
The village targeted lies 17 kilometres (10 miles) south of the city of Qamishli and is controlled by Syrian government forces, according to the Observatory and AFP correspondents.
‘It is the first time,’ that US forces conduct such an operation in regime-held areas, the Observatory said.