Recent raids by the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group in Syria resulted in the killing or capture of several people affiliated with the terrorist group, officials said.
The raids and other recent operations highlight the ongoing fighting by the international coalition in Syria, even as U.S. officials seek to emphasize a shift to noncombat support in neighboring Iraq.
In a raid over the weekend, coalition forces killed three ISIS terrorists and detained two associates, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said Sunday on social media. A couple of days earlier, the coalition captured one known ISIS terrorist and two associates in eastern Syria, Marotto said in an earlier post.
Hundreds of U.S. troops remain deployed to help the Syrian Defense Forces battle ISIS. Marotto said the coalition also provided reconnaissance support during raids in the eastern city of Raqqa on Sunday.
The combat operations come on the heels of President Joe Biden’s remark Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly that the U.S. is not at war “for the first time in 20 years.”
Officials were working to provide further details in response to a query Monday, Marotto said in a message to Stars and Stripes, but further information wasn’t available by press time.
The alliance and its SDF partners are seeking to prevent ISIS from reconstituting more than two years after it was ousted from its last territorial stronghold.
The weekend assault appears to have taken place in Deir al-Zour province. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitoring group reported that coalition and partner forces had targeted a house with ISIS-affiliated members holed up inside Sunday.
Over loudspeakers, coalition forces called for the occupants to hand themselves over, reported the observatory, which maintains a network of on-the-ground sources. Instead, fighting broke out, and the coalition withdrew after arresting the occupants and burning the house, it said.
Elsewhere in the province Sunday, a coalition helicopter launched a fatal airstrike against a trio of insurgents who had been spotted near an SDF commando checkpoint, according to the observatory.
ISIS carried out 20 attacks last month, killing 15 civilians and security personnel from the Euphrates River city of Deir al-Zour to the town of Qamishli on the northeastern border with Turkey, the SDF said Sunday.
Pictures shared Sunday by the SDF show Bradley Fighting Vehicles flying the U.S. flag doing a security patrol in the city of al-Hasakah, which the observatory said was the first of its kind. The SDF said it had detained three ISIS cell members in that city during an operation with coalition ground support about a week ago.
Three simultaneous operations Sunday in the city of Raqqa’s east, west and south led to the arrest of three ISIS cell leaders who had hidden and transported fighters responsible for planning and carrying out assassinations in the region, the SDF said.
Meanwhile, military officials issued a statement last week emphasizing the “noncombat related” mission that the U.S. Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division assumed at a ceremony in northern Iraq, noting that the U.S. forces did not deploy with their Stryker vehicles.
The U.S. has drawn down troop numbers and shifted from combat to support in recent months at the request of the Iraqi government, following a spate of attacks targeting bases housing U.S. forces.