The United States military and its allies in Iraq and Syria killed almost 700 operatives of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including several of the organization’s leaders, in 2022.
“The emerging, reliable and steady ability of our Iraqi and Syrian partner forces to conduct unilateral operations to capture and kill ISIS leaders allows us to maintain steady pressure on the ISIS network,” Major-General Matt McFarlane, commander of a combined task force in Syria and Iraq, said in a statement released on Thursday by the US Central Command (Centcom).
According to the statement, 466 ISIS operatives were killed in Syria, and another 220 in Iraq. A total of 374 militants were captured in both countries.
“No US forces were injured or killed in these operations,” Centcom said.
In February, ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in north-western Syria when he detonated a bomb in his apartment as US forces closed in, eliminating what President Joe Biden called a “major terrorist threat”.
Al-Qurayshi took over as leader of the terrorist group after his predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a US raid in 2019, also in Syria.
In July, the US military said it killed a top ISIS leader and seriously wounded another in a drone strike in Syria.
Centcom, which covers the Middle East, as well as Central and South Asia, said in the Thursday statement that more than 20,000 ISIS fighters have been detained in Iraq, and another 10,000 in Syria.
In January, a prison break in Al-Hasakah in Syria touched off a battle in which hundreds died.
General Michael Kurilla, head of Centcom, warned in the statement that while ISIS has been weakened, “the vile ideology remains unconstrained”.
“We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations,” he said.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES