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Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan – The U.S. Defense Department announced Saturday, in an official statement, that the U.S. Special Forces conducted a military operation inside the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, northeastern Syria, and was able to kill Abu Sayyaf, a senior leader in the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL’s military operations and also helped direct the terrorist organization’s illicit oil, gas and financial operations.
“U.S. forces captured Oum Sayyaf (wife of Abu Sayyaf), who we suspect is a member of ISIL as well, and has played an important role in ISIL’s terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman who was rescued last night,” the statement said.
The statement pointed out that no U.S. forces were killed or injured during the operation, which represented “another significant blow to ISIL.”
“Abu Sayyaf was killed in clashes with our forces during the operation in Deir ez-Zor last night.”
Speaking to ARA News, Mohammed Hassan, member of the Local Coordination Committees in Deir ez-Zor, said that a special unit from the U.S.-led international coalition’s forces conducted an operation near al-Mayadeen city in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor province on Friday midnight.
“At 1:00am, the warplanes intensified sorties above Deir ez-Zor, and about 4:00am the area of Omar oil-field witnessed a U.S.-led parachutist, targeting a high level meeting held by ISIL’s commanders,” Hassan added.
The source pointed out that the U.S. special forces broke into one of the field buildings of Omar and killed an ISIL leading member called Abu Sayyaf ـــwho is believed to have served as the Emir of Oil in the Islamic State.
Additionally, the operation led to the arrest of Abu Sayyaf’s wife, who is believed to be one of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s siblings, in addition to another leader from Baqras village, a senior official in ISIL’s Communications Department.
A state of panic prevailed in the ranks of the militants, who imposed a curfew on the city after the U.S. operation, according the Local Coordination Committees in Deir ez-Zor.
Syrian journalist Mustafa Abdi told ARA News that this is not the first time the coalition forces carry out parachutist operations; “they conducted an operation in the IS-held city of Raqqa during the arrest of the Jordanian pilot Moaz Kasasbeh last year”.
“The recent accurate and successful U.S.-led operation suggests that the anti-IS war entered a very complicated phase, especially since Americans realized that the air strikes alone are not enough to end or weaken the radical group,” Abdi said.
Abdi pointed out that the mission of eliminating ISIL coincides with the dispersion of Syrian rebels’ factions relied upon by the coalition on the ground, amid absence of any clear strategy of the war against the terrorist organization, which is still in control of vast areas of Syria and Iraq after nine months of the start of the airstrikes.
Speaking to ARA News, David Murad al-Khitari, researcher and activist documenting violations against the Yezidi community, said: “In Syria, there are approximately 500 Yezidi girls and women with their children kidnapped by Daesh (Islamic State), and most of the abductees have been transferred to Raqqa in Syria. While in the Iraq, the majority of Yezidi abductees are held in Mosul, most of them are women and underage girls.”
“Some others have been transferred to Aleppo and al-Anbar,” he added. “The fate of many others is still ambiguous.”
The spokeswoman of the U.S. National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan said on Saturday that President Barack Obama has authorized the U.S. operation in Syria which led to the death of the IS senior leader, Abu Sayyaf.
“This operation is in line with domestic and international laws,” she concluded.
Reporting by: Ali Isso and Jan Nasro
Source: ARA News