BEIRUT (REUTERS) - The US-led coalition said it had detained a senior Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group leader in Syria during an early-morning operation on Thursday (June 16).
The coalition conducts raids and strikes targeting members of the jihadist group, which has been waging insurgent attacks since its defeat on the battlefield three years ago.
"The detained individual was assessed to be an experienced bomb maker and facilitator who became one of the group's top leaders in Syria," the statement said, adding no civilians were harmed during the operation nor aircraft damaged.
The coalition did not specify in what part of Syria Thursday's raid took place.
A spokesperson for a separate Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group told Reuters earlier on Thursday that coalition forces had carried out a helicopter raid in the village of Al-Humaira just south of the Turkish border, the first operation of its kind in the area.
Major Youssef Hamoud, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) said US-made Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters were involved but said the exact circumstances were unclear at the time.
"This is the first (US) helicopter landing operation to happen" in areas under the SNA's control, he said.
A source in touch with rebels in the area said clashes erupted during the operation.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group with a vast network of sources on the ground, could not confirm the identity of the IS operative captured on Thursday.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that two helicopters landed in Hmeirah and took off seven minutes later, adding that only a few shots were fired during the operation.
“The US operation was quick and smooth,” he said. “It took place in the village of Hmeirah, northeast of the city of Aleppo and four kilometres from the Turkish border.”
United States special forces in February undertook a helicopter raid in Syria's Idlib province controlled by jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashemi Al-Quraishi.
Quraishi had led the group since the death of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was also killed when he detonated explosives during a US raid in 2019.