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Syria: US-led coalition says it has detained senior Islamic State leader

Coalition says no civilians were harmed or aircraft damaged during the early-morning operation
A spokesperson for the Syrian National Army said coalition forces had carried out a helicopter raid in the village of Al-Humaira just south of the Turkish border (AFP/file photo)

The US-led coalition said it had detained a senior Islamic State (IS) leader in Syria during an early-morning operation on Thursday.

"The detained individual was assessed to be an experienced bomb maker and facilitator who became one of the group’s top leaders in Syria," the statement said, adding no civilians were harmed during the operation nor aircraft damaged.

The coalition conducts raids and strikes targeting members of IS, which has been waging insurgent attacks since its defeat on the battlefield three years ago.

The coalition did not specify in what part of Syria Thursday's raid took place.

A spokesperson for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army told Reuters earlier on Thursday that coalition forces had carried out a helicopter raid in the village of Al-Humaira just south of the Turkish border, the first operation of its kind in the area.

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Major Youssef Hamoud said US-made Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters were involved but said the exact circumstances were unclear at the time.

"This is the first [US] helicopter landing operation to happen" in areas under the SNA's control, he said.

A source in touch with rebels in the area said clashes erupted during the operation.

US special forces in February undertook a helicopter raid in Syria's Idlib province controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham that led to the death of IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

Qurayshi had led the group since the death of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was also killed when he detonated explosives during a US raid in 2019.

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