Defense

US raid in Syria resulted in multiple deaths, including civilians, residents say

The Department of Defense announced early Thursday that U.S. forces had carried out a “successful” counterterrorism mission in northwest Syria, however at least 13 people, including women and children, were reportedly killed in the operation.

“U.S. Special Operations forces under the control of U.S. Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria. The mission was successful. There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

President Biden later said that the operation targeted Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who was “taken off the battlefield.”

Biden added in a statement that he will address the raid publicly later in the day.

Residents in the city of Atmeh, located close to Syria’s border with Turkey, reported helicopters flying overhead and gunfire lasting more than two hours, according to The Associated Press.

The New York Times reported that one U.S. military helicopter experienced mechanical problems. After it was forced to land, it was destroyed by an American attack aircraft, the newspaper added.

U.S. forces reportedly clashed with gunmen at a two-story house surrounded by olive trees. The AP noted that there are many camps of Syrians displaced by the country’s civil war in the area around Atmeh.

The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an “anti-Assad” group aimed at documenting human rights abuses in Syria, said on social media that the deaths of 13 people, including four children and three women, have been confirmed.

“#SOHR confirms that only US command and forces participating in this operation know the identities of the targeted individuals. However, the deaths of 13 people, including four children and three women, have been verified and confirmed,” the organization said.

Jamil el-Deddo, a resident of a nearby refugee camp, told the AP that “the first moments were terrifying.”

“We were worried it could be Syrian aircraft, which brought back memories of barrel bombs that used to be dropped on us,” el-Deddo said.

Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated at 7:25 a.m.

Tags Joe Biden John Kirby Syria Turkey

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