ISIS military leader killed in Syria air strike: Pentagon

A fighter from the Kurdish-Arab alliance, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces on Dec 13, 2016.
A fighter from the Kurdish-Arab alliance, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces on Dec 13, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A key military commander for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Syria has been killed in an air strike carried out by the US-led coalition, the Pentagon said on Thursday (Dec 29).

Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti died on Monday near Tabqa Dam, west of the ISIS stronghold of Raqa, according to a statement from Centcom, the US military command in the Middle East.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, described al-Kuwaiti as the "number two military commander for ISIS in Syria".

The militant commander led battles in Iraq and Syria, and was most recently assigned to Raqa where he oversaw attacks on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Observatory said.

The SDF, an Arab-Kurdish alliance backed by US ground and air forces, launched an offensive to retake Raqa in early November.

Al-Kuwaiti was involved in using suicide vehicles, IEDs and chemical weapons against the SDF, Centcom said.

He was previously a member of the ISIS "War Committee" and involved in the group's retaking of the central Syrian city of Palmyra on Dec 11, just eight months after the army backed by Russia drove them out.

Centcom added that al-Kuwaiti's death would impede ISIS's ability to defend Raqa, as well as diminish the group's ability to launch attacks in the West.