On June 16 2022, troops of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, led by the United States, conducted an operation in the vicinity of Turkish-occupied Jarablus in northwest Syria, detaining a senior leader of ISIS.
According to a statement released by the coalition, the ISIS leader was “assessed to be an experienced bomb maker facilitator who became one of the group’s top leaders in Syria.” Media outlets including ABC quoted US defense officials identifying the captured leader as Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, who was actively planning ISIS operations. According to the Coalition, no civilians, coalition troops, or coalition assets suffered any harm or loss of life.
This is not the first example of a prominent ISIS figure who was found and captured inside Syria near the Turkish border. In February 2022, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the successor to al-Baghdadi as Caliph of the terror group was found and killed in a coalition operation in the town of Atme, Idlib province, Syria, a town that is only a few miles from the Turkish border. Al-Baghdadi himself was found and killed by the coalition in the Syrian town of Barisha, very close to Atme, and also near the Turkish border.
General Michael Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, reiterated the coalition’s commitment to continuing the fight against ISIS. He stated, “Coalition forces will continue to work with our partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces, including the Peshmerga, to hunt the remnants of Daesh wherever they hide, to ensure Daesh’s enduring defeat.”
2022 has seen an uptick in ISIS activity across Syria, including a major prison break attempt in Hasakah in January, in which hundreds of ISIS fighters temporarily took control of the al Sina’a Prison and neighboring areas of Hasakah, before being defeated by the Syrian Democratic Forces and Asayish local security forces, with support on the ground and from the air by the US-led Coalition.