US special operations forces conducted a series of helicopter raids in Syria in the last week, capturing two ISIS leaders. Meanwhile, US forces in Africa launched two strikes that killed 15 a-Shaboob fighters. The two raids, though apparently unrelated, illustrate the continuing level of combat involving US forces in both theaters. National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Andrew J. Moseley.
US special operators captured six ISIS operators in a series of helicopter raids spanning 48 hours in Syria, while officials say that a series of aerial strikes in Africa killed 15 al-Shabab fighters in a period of three days last week.
The operations all took place in the last six days but appear otherwise unrelated. Occurring on different continents, the operations were announced separately by US Central Command and US Africa Command.
Details of both operations, such as the units involved or specific aircraft used, were not released.
But together, the operations underlined the high tempo of deadly force for US forces in both Africa and Syria.
An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flight line at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Dec. 17, 2019. US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Stevens.
In Syria, CENTCOM officials said that six Islamic State group operatives were captured in three helicopter raids in eastern Syria. Detainees included al-Zubaydi, whom US officials described as an Islamic State Syria province senior official.
The raid was the second in December for US special operations forces in Syria. A raid captured at least one ISIS leader on Dec. 11.
In Africa, two air raids three days apart killed 15 al-Shabab fighters near the coastal city of Cadele, Somalia. Cadele is about 150 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.
The type of strike was not disclosed, but drone strikes have been common in the theater in recent years. Somali officials recently asked the US to increase their usage in the region.
The US has been targeting al-Shabab, an al Qaeda offshoot, for several years in Somalia as part of the Somali government's campaign to push the militant group out of the country.
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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