The United States Department of Defence announced on 14 November that four more important operatives of the Islamic State (IS) had been killed in targeted airstrikes by the U.S.-led anti-IS Coalition. “The removal of these key terrorists disrupts ISIS’ weapons engineering activities and their ability to recruit and train terrorists,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “It also reduces their ability to plan and conduct terrorist attacks, both within Syria and Iraq and abroad.”
The four men killed are:
- Yusuf Demir, struck down “near” al-Qaim in Iraq on 26 October. Demir was “an ISIS media official with links to ISIS networks throughout the Middle East and Europe”;
- Omer Demir, killed simultaneous with Yusuf, was “an ISIS external operations coordinator with links to ISIS networks in the Middle East and Europe”;
- Abu Yazin, “an ISIS senior leader and weapons facilitator”, was eliminated on 3 November near Mayadeen in Syria;
- Abdellah Hajjiaou was killed on 5 November “near” al-Bukamal in Syria while working as “an ISIS external operations plotter”.
An announcement from the Coalition’s official military Operation, INHERENT RESOLVE, on 31 October, documented the demise of eleven “leaders and facilitators, directly responsible for command and control, research and development, and planning”. Some of these operatives had been involved in work on unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better-known as drones.
- Abu Ahmad al-Muhajir was killed on 16 September near Mayadeen. Abu Ahmad was “a senior military officer” involved in procurement and research-and-development activities.
- Another “senior military officer involved in procurement and R&D,” Haji Ibrahim, was killed 20 September near Mayadeen,
- Bin Ladin Dhu al-Fiqar, “a senior military commander,” was killed in Mayadeen on 25 September.
- Shahin, a “ground commander,” was killed in Mayadeen on 26 September.
- Abu Walid al-Shami, who works as an R&D developer for weapons systems, was killed in Mayadeen on 29 September.
- A “military procurement official involved in R&D,” Abu Hajir al-Iraqi, was killed in Mayadeen on 2 October.
- The Coalition killed Abu Mahmud al-Halabi, an “ISIS administrative official,” on 3 October near Mayadeen.
- A very specific strike was carried out in Syria on 3 October to kill Abu Walid al-Qamishli in al-Haidin, a “commander responsible for a network of fighters in Hasaka Province”.
- Abu Taburak, “a UAS researcher and developer,” was killed in al-Qaim on 7 October.
- A “UAS facilitator,” Abu Asia, was killed in al-Bukamal on 9 October.
- Abu Suhayb, “an ISIS leader,” was killed in al-Qaim on 12 October.
The U.S.-led Coalition has targeted IS’s propagandist-recruiters and external terrorists, plus various jihadists with technical capacities, in waves this year. The geographical spread has been notably concentrated. Including these fifteen targeted killings, the Coalition has—so far this year—killed thirty named IS operatives in or around al-Mayadeen, and nineteen in the Iraq-Syria border zone that IS calls Wilayat al-Furat (The Euphrates Province). This zone now constitutes the remnants of the caliphate, but IS had moved senior operatives and administrative infrastructure out of Raqqa to Mayadeen and even further downriver months before the Raqqa offensive fully began in June. This underlines the controversy over how the Coalition chose to wage war in Raqqa: on the one hand with so-called “annihilation tactics,” designed to prevent the dispersal of foreign fighters, which led to the destruction of the city, and on the other hand to conclude the operation with a deal that allowed thousands of jihadists and their families—probably in possession of Yazidi slaves—to leave the city to safety.
Originally published at The Henry Jackson Society