A US airborne operation involving multiple helicopters left one person dead in a government-controlled area of Syria’s northeast, Syrian state TV reported Thursday.
It is the first such operation in government-held territory, the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victim was likely a member of the Islamic State group.
“US occupation forces carried out a landing operation using several helicopters in the village of Muluk Saray in the southern countryside of Qamishli and killed one person,” Syria’s state broadcaster said, without elaborating.
The US armed forces’ Central Command (CENTCOM) said it currently has “no information to provide”.
The village targeted lies 17 kilometres (10 miles) south of the city of Qamishli and is controlled by Syrian government forces, according to the Observatory and AFP correspondents.
“It is the first time,” that US forces conduct such an operation in regime-held areas, the Observatory said.
The person killed in the operation “had been a resident of the area for years and is likely an Islamic State” group leader, added the war monitoring group that relies on a wide network of sources in Syria.
Several other people were captured, the monitor said, without providing a figure.
– Little-known target –
A resident of the village said that three US helicopters carrying troops had landed in the overnight operation.
US forces raided a house, killing one person and taking several others captive, the resident told AFP on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
“They used loudspeakers to call on residents to stay indoors” during the operation, the resident said.
The resident said the victim is a little-known displaced person from Hassakeh province, whom he named as Abu Hayel.
Washington is part of a US-led coalition battling the IS group in Syria.
In July, the Pentagon said it killed Syria’s top IS jihadist in a drone strike in the northern part of the country.
CENTCOM said he had been “one of the top five” leaders of Islamic State overall.
The July strike came five months after a nighttime US raid in the town of Atme, which led to the death of the overall Islamic State leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi.
US officials said Qurashi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.
After losing their last territory following a military onslaught backed by the US-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of IS in Syria mostly retreated into desert hideouts.
They have since used such hideouts to ambush Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops while continuing to mount attacks in Iraq.