Two Islamic State leaders killed in joint coalition-SDF raid in Syria

The raid comes amid a string of SDF operations against suspected IS members over the past week.

al-monitor Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces stand together in the village of Baghouz, Deir ez-Zor province, Syria, March 20, 2019. Photo by REUTERS/Rodi Said.

May 22, 2020

The US-led coalition against the Islamic State says two senior IS leaders were killed in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province during a raid carried out with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Ahmad Isa Ismael al-Zawi, also known as Abu Ali al-Baghdadi, and Ahmad Abd Muhammad Hassan al-Jughayfi, or Abu Ammar, were killed in a raid Sunday, the US-led coalition announced today.

Zawi was IS' wali, or regional governor, of north Baghdad, responsible for disseminating guidance from senior IS leaders to local operatives, according to the coalition.

Jughayfi was "a senior [IS] logistics and supplies official responsible for directing the acquisition and transport of weapons, IED materials, and personnel across Iraq and Syria,” today’s statement read. IEDs are improvised explosive devices.

The SDF and the coalition also conducted a raid in the eastern Syrian town of Shuhail that led to the death of one IS suspect and the arrest of three others, according to statements today.

The raids come amid a string of SDF operations against suspected IS members over the past week in the areas of Tabqa, Busayrah and Dashisha.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier this week that the SDF had launched raids resulting in the arrest of seven people on suspicion of IS affiliation around Raqqa.

The coalition and the SDF captured IS’ last remaining territory in Syria in Deir ez-Zor in March, but the area continues to see killings and attacks attributed to sleeper cells.

Across the border in Iraq, the coalition has scaled back its operations against IS since consolidating forces at larger bases due to the coronavirus pandemic and attacks by Iran-linked militias.

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