On Thursday, the White House claimed that it had directed a raid on a building in northwest Syria that resulted in the death of ISIS honcho Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. At least 13 people died in the attack, including four women and six children. No US troops, most likely from 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta, were killed or injured.
This is how the New York Times describes the events.
The helicopter-borne assault carried out by about two dozen American commandos, backed by helicopter gunships, armed Reaper drones and attack jets, resembled the raid in October 2019 in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the previous leader of the Islamic State, died when he detonated a suicide vest as U.S. forces raided a hide-out not far from where Thursday’s operation took place.
American helicopters ferried the commandos into position after midnight, surrounding a house in Atmeh, a town close to the border with Turkey in rebel-held Idlib Province, according to eyewitnesses, social media reports and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in Britain.
A long, tense standoff ensued, with loudspeakers blaring warnings in Arabic for everyone in the house to surrender, neighbors said. After about two hours, the house’s occupants had not emerged and a major battle erupted, with heavy machine gun fire and apparent missile strikes that damaged the house, collapsed some of its walls and blew out its windows.
During the operation, one of the American helicopters suffered a mechanical problem, was forced to land and was later destroyed by American attack aircraft. After about three hours, the American commandos and their remaining helicopters flew off, witnesses said.
Here are some video clips from the scene.
🔴SYRIA: #VIDEO: THE HOUSE IN #ATMEH WHICH WAS RAIDED BY US SPECIAL FORCES LAST NIGHT!
– akhbar video
U.S military force killed one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, -Qurayshi-, leader of the Islamic State group, during an overnight raid in Syria pic.twitter.com/hbfzXmewjp
— loveworld (@LoveWorld_Peopl) February 3, 2022
Sources says d#ath toll in the Syrian raid by US forces has now been confirmed to be 13 people, including 6 children and 4 women
Idlib province #Syria
Video courtesy: AFP pic.twitter.com/3tuf76NO0Q
— 0SiNTEL📡 (@OSiNTEL_) February 3, 2022
Full building and debris of what remains of the compound after the US raid, in idlib #Syria.
The full house was sanitized by US forces for intelligence
There is still no confirmation as to who was keeled last night. pic.twitter.com/EqY1I03wZt
— 0SiNTEL📡 (@OSiNTEL_) February 3, 2022
Just a short while ago, Biden made this statement.
Not a lot is known about this fellow, including his real name. Everyone thinks he operates under a nom de guerre and rose to the top of the ISIS septic tank upon the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019. However, there is debate on just how prominent he was within ISIS and his actual influence.
I’ve always been extraordinarily skeptical of these operations to remove a particular, named terrorist who is alleged to be the evil mastermind behind the Taliban, al Qaeda, or ISIS. Nothing we’ve seen in the last two decades indicates that these organizations have much of a defined command structure, and killing their leaders is like playing whack-a-mole. As far as ISIS goes, I’ll admit they are an extraordinarily vicious variant of radical Islam. Still, I’ve never been sure why we cared, as they were a Turkish, Iraqi/Iranian, and Syrian problem.
Given the fact that the Biden White House authorized an attack in Afghanistan that killed 10 innocent people, including three children, I would have expected Biden’s advisors to have been a bit more circumspect than sending him out to do a victory dance after an operation that claimed another 10 innocent lives.
I know they claim that al-Qurayshi blew off the top floor of the building and killed the 10 non-combatants with a suicide bomb; there is no reason to believe that claim without documentary evidence. If there is one thing Biden and his junta has shown over the past year, it’s that they will lie at the drop of a hat if they think it helps them. I’m not a structural engineer, but it would be cool if one could take a look at the after-raid photo..
LIVE VIDEO: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on a U.S. special forces raid in Syria that resulted in the death of the Islamic State's top leader. https://t.co/YoCtwcgsMV pic.twitter.com/fduPg21Wsn
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) February 3, 2022
Given the totality of events, one can’t get away from the feeling that this operation was initiated to make a weak husk of a man appear, at least to the gullible, as active, engaged, and decisive to offset the dozens of images like this one.
Jill Biden must really enjoy being First Lady.
America’s foremost elder abuser. pic.twitter.com/OruSALeWFR
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) February 2, 2022
So, on the one hand, we can give a nice golf clap to the operation and acknowledge that our enemies never sleep all that well, knowing that any night, Delta could come calling. On the other hand, the operation seems to be tactically and strategically irrelevant; given the absence of time-sensitivity, there is a certain recklessness in ordering an operation knowing that women and children surrounded the target; and it seems timed to convince third parties–like Putin and our NATO allies–that Joe Biden still has game.
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