Members of the US Special Forces have carried out a ground operation in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor aimed at capturing leaders of the ISIS terrorist group, according to media reports and comments by US-led coalition officials.
The operation allegedly took place near some town north of the Deir Ezzor provincial capital on Sunday.
The Washington Post (January 9, 2017):
The troops, who landed on helicopters, spent about 90 minutes in the area, then left carrying Islamic State captives and bodies, according to witnesses quoted by the website Deir al-Zour 24, which monitors Islamic State activity in that province.
A U.S. official said U.S. forces intercepted a vehicle thought to be carrying senior Islamic State members, but declined to say whether the militants had been captured or killed. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an operation that the Pentagon has not yet publicly announced, said there were no American casualties.
The raid appeared to be an operation by the Expeditionary Task Force, a team of Special Operations forces based in Iraq that is charged with hunting down Islamic State leaders.
Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, confirmed that the raid had taken place but declined to provide details or say whether any leaders had been seized.
“The Coalition can confirm a U.S. operation in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour [Deir Ezzor] on Jan. 8. The U.S. and the entire counter-ISIL Coalition will continue to pursue ISIL leaders wherever they are to ensure the security and stability of the region and our homelands,” he said in an email. ISIL is another name for the Islamic State.
Unconfirmed media reports say that the raid resulted in killing of over 20 ISIS members and capturing of some 2 persons in the area by US Special Operation Forces troops. However, this cannot be confirmed by photo or video evidence.
The US-led coalition has not released an official report about the operation.