SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday the counter-terrorism raid carried out by American special forces in northwest Syria targeted Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.
Earlier, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said U.S. special forces successfully conducted a counter-terrorism mission in northeast Syria.
The operation jolted the sleepy village of Atmeh near the Turkish border, an area dotted with camps for internally displaced people from Syria’s civil war.
“Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces in northwest Syria successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our Allies, and make the world a safer place,” Biden said in a statement.
“Thanks to the skill and bravery of our Armed Forces, we have taken off the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi – the leader of ISIS. All Americans have returned safely from the operation,” he added.
Biden planned to deliver remarks on the Syria operation at 9:30 a.m. ET/1430 GMT, the White House said, according to Reuters.
It was the largest raid in the province since the 2019 U.S. assault targeting the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Idlib is broadly controlled by Turkey-backed fighters, but is also an Al-Qaida stronghold and home to several of its top operatives. Other militants have also found refuge in the region.
After the killing of Baghdadi in October 2019, the group named al-Quraishi, an Iraqi who was once held in U.S. custody, as his successor.
*This story was updated at 4:20 p.m. EBL time