Air strike kills ISIS 'minister of information'

WASHINGTON • A coalition air strike in Syria has killed a senior operative of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who oversaw the production of terrorist propaganda.

Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, also known as Dr Wa'il, was killed in a precision strike on Sept 7 near Raqqa, the Syrian city that is the de facto capital of ISIS, said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.

He described Wa'il as the minister of information of ISIS and a prominent member of its senior shura council, or leadership group.

He oversaw the militant group's "production of terrorist propaganda videos showing torture and executions" and was a close associate of Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, the ISIS spokesman killed in an American air strike on Aug 30.

United States officials "will continue to work with our coalition partners to build momentum" in the campaign to deal ISIS "a lasting defeat", Mr Cook said.

Slain ISIS official Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad oversaw the production of videos like this one which was released online showing masked gunmen about to kill five Arabic men accused of being British spies.

The Pentagon also said US special operations troops had joined Turkish soldiers and Syrian opposition groups to clear ISIS fighters from northern Syria, the latest sign that the Obama administration is deepening its involvement in the 51/2-year civil war.

Washington had previously disclosed it would deploy up to 300 special operations troops in Syria to help opposition fighters, but it was not known that they were working alongside Turkish troops.

There are about 40 special operations troops involved, said a US official who asked to remain anonymous.

The development comes as air strikes and clashes are testing a fragile ceasefire in Syria.

It is the result of a deal between Russia which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with air power, and the US which supports some rebel groups.

Both sides agreed to extend the seven-day ceasefire which started on Monday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline 'Air strike kills ISIS 'minister of information''. Print Edition | Subscribe