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Al Monitor: Four US troops, working dog wounded in Syria raid against Islamic State

By February 17, 2023June 19th, 2023Mailchimp, News, Print

A senior IS official was killed in a raid in northeast Syria that injured US troops and a working dog, who were transported to Iraq for medical treatment.

As published by Al-Monitor.

February 17, 2023
The US military said four of its personnel and a working dog were wounded during a helicopter-borne raid alongside Syrian Kurdish fighters targeting a suspected Islamic State leader in northeast Syria late on Thursday.

The suspected IS official, identified by the US military as Hamza al-Homsi, was killed during the operation.

The wounded US service members and dog had been transported to Iraq and were receiving medical treatment at a US facility as of Friday, the military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a press release.

The nature of the explosion was not clear, though a number of high-profile IS figures have detonated suicide vests when surrounded by US forces in recent years.

Why it matters: The raid marks the first time American personnel have been wounded in action in Syria since last August, when rocket fire believed to have been launched by Iran-backed militias on the US-run Conoco support facility in Deir ez-Zor lightly injured three troops.

The United States maintains roughly 900 troops in the country to pursue remaining IS figures alongside local Syrian fighters, chief among them a Kurdish-led alliance of militias calling itself the Syrian Democratic Forces.

But pressure from other players in the conflict — mainly Iran-backed militias and Turkey, which sees the Syrian Kurdish-led force as a terrorist organization — has continued to complicate the operations.

The SDF resumed partnered operations alongside the United States against IS on Dec. 8 after a hiatus in which its commander, Mazlum Abdi, sought to prepare for what his side saw as a looming attack by Turkey, potentially targeting the Kurdish-stronghold city of Kobani.

Mick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official and CIA paramilitary officer turned ABC News analyst, told Al-Monitor that those still fighting should not be forgotten. “The mission to ensure the enduring defeat of [IS] in Syria continues,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces did not immediately respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment on the operation.