A team of U.S. Special Operation Forces took part in a raid in eastern Syria on Saturday morning, killing a senior leader in ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), Abu Sayyaf, whose roles were to oversee oil and gas operations, and possibly had involvements with the military operations. The White House confirmed the operation, including that it was authorized by the White House, and confirmed that no U.S. personnel were killed in the fire fight.
According to Syrian state media, 40 ISIL members were killed during the operation by U.S. Forces. Hand-to-hand combat and fire fight were all used in this operation. Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the U.S. Special Operation Forces into Syria’s al-Amr region to capture Sayyaf and his wife.
Another member by the name of Umm Sayyaf, Abu’s wife, who is also an ISIL member believed by U.S. Intelligence to have connections to terror activities; was captured during the operation and taken for questioning to a U.S. facility in Iraq.
While the intention was to capture Abu Sayyaf, he engaged with the troops and was killed during the operation. The United States had him under close surveillance and if the intention was to simply kill the suspect, a drone strike was in talks of being ordered. However, he was believed to be more valuable which is why an on ground operation was ordered. Operation forces were told that if they felt it necessary to kill the suspect if necessary. The Special Forces members were able to collect his communication equipment for further investigation, and is believed to be worth the risk of the ground operation.
The growing rate of ISIS/ISIL in Syria in the past two years has been unexpectedly quick and violent. The intention has been for ISIS/ISIL to take over any operations within Syria to help fund their terrorist operations, including the filming and publishing of several beheadings. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed there was an attack on an oil field where 19 ISIL members, and 12 foreigners were killed but there was no confirmation on who carried out the attack.
A young Yazidi woman who appeared to be held captive as a slave was freed during the operation.