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Syria: US says two senior Islamic State members killed in air strike

Strike came on same day US launched a rare operation inside a government-controlled area to kill another IS member
The US leads a military coalition battling IS in Syria whose presence is opposed by the Syrian government (AFP)

US Central Command (Centcom) said on Thursday that it had killed two senior members of Islamic State (IS) in an air strike in northern Syria.

"US forces conducted a successful air strike in northern Syria, killing both Abu-Hashum al-Umawi, a deputy wali [governor] of Syria, and another senior ISIS official associated with him," Centcom said in a statement, using an acronym for IS.

"No US forces were injured or killed and there was no loss or damage to US equipment in the execution of this operation."

Centcom said initial assessments indicated no civilians had been killed or wounded during the operation, which occurred at 6.32pm on Thursday.

The air strike came on the same day that Centcom said US forces had killed another IS member in a rare helicopter raid on a government-held village in Syria's northeast.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said such a raid in areas held by the Syrian government was unusual.

Centcom said Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri was "known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters".

It said he was killed during the overnight operation, while one of his associates was wounded and two others detained by US forces.

Four helicopters

Syrian state television said in its Telegram channel that the operation to kill Shammri took place in the village of Muluk Saray in the northeastern province of Hasakah.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper reported that four US helicopters were deployed in the raid and that US forces ordered residents of Muluk Saray, through loudspeakers, to stay in their houses.

Syria: One dead during rare US operation in government-controlled area
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Locals said the man who was killed, who they named as Abu Hail, had moved to the village from Taif, a town near the border with Iraq that was once an IS stronghold. 

"He came and lived here several years ago. He used to frequent a farm near the archaeological hill of Gul Barat near the village," a source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Residents of the village said they heard several bursts of individual weapons launched from Syrian government checkpoints on the outskirts of the village during the raid.

The US maintains forces in Syria that it says are battling IS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Syrian government says American forces are illegally occupying Syrian territory, and taking Syrian oil from fields in the northeast of the country.

State news agency Sana reported that a convoy comprising 48 tankers of Syrian oil from the al-Jazeera fields left the country on Monday through the al-Mahmoudiya border crossing towards Iraq.

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