Syria Drone Strike Kills Suspected IS Member

A drone strike in northern Syria killed a suspected member of the Islamic State group on Monday, a war monitor and an AFP correspondent said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack that came days after US forces said they had targeted IS officials in Syria in a series of raids.

Two explosions hit near the Turkish-held border town of Tal Abyad in northern Syria, residents and an AFP correspondent said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a drone strike had targeted a suspected member of the jihadist group.

The suspected jihadist was killed while on a motorbike, according to the monitor which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

“I heard aircraft and then a first strike followed by a second one less than a minute later,” resident Ismail al-Barho told AFP.

“I came to the site of the strikes and found a charred body,” he said, adding that a civilian was also wounded.

Another resident identified the dead man as Ammar al-Yehya Ibn Ali, a 35-year-old Syrian who was known to have been a former member of IS.

The resident spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Monday’s strike came after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said it carried out a raid in northeast Syria on Thursday, targeting an IS official known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters.

In a later statement the same day, it said it had launched another air strike that killed two senior IS members.

Washington first deployed troops in northeast Syria in 2014 as part of a coalition to combat the IS group.

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When they lost the last territory they controlled after a military onslaught backed by the US-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of IS in Syria mostly retreated into desert hideouts.

They have since used these hideouts to ambush Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops, while also continuing to mount attacks in Iraq.

In July, the Pentagon said it had killed Syria’s top IS jihadist in a drone strike in the north of the country.

CENTCOM said he had been “one of the top five” IS leaders.

July’s attack came five months after a nighttime US raid on the town of Atme, which led to the death of IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi.

US officials said Qurashi, his wife, and two children all died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.