A senior ISIS leader, Maher al-Agal, has been killed in a U.S. airstrike in northwestern Syria, the U.S. military has said. Al-Agal was the head of ISIS in Syria, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Central Command, Centcom. It states that Al-Agal was "responsible for aggressively pursuing the development of ISIS networks outside of Iraq and Syria".
According to the statement, months of planning were critical to the success of this operation. Col. Joe Buchino, Centcom spokesman, said, "This strike reaffirms CENTCOM's steadfast commitment to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS."
Buchino adds that "ISIS continues to represent a threat to the U.S. and partners in the region", and that "CENTCOM maintains a sufficient and sustainable presence in the region and will continue to counter threats against regional security".
The United States has about 900 troops in Syria, mainly in the east of the country. Syria is divided by a decade-long civil war. The strike has taken place in Afrin, northwestern Syria. It is the latest in a series of strikes against the terrorist group in Syria.
Al-Agal was a member of ISIS during its control of Raqqa and had since moved further north to Afrin in 2020 under Turkish-backed factions.