Islamic State Group Leader Eliminated in Syria by US Drone Strike, Confirms Defense Department

by Michael Nguyen
US Drone Strike

The Defense Department reports that a leader of the Islamic State group in Syria was taken out in a U.S. drone strike, following a previous encounter between the same MQ-9 Reaper drones and Russian military jets in the country’s western region.

On Friday, three Reapers had been surveilling the area in search of the militant when Russian aircraft began to engage them in a two-hour confrontation, a U.S. defense official disclosed. Following this incident, the drones successfully targeted and eliminated Usamah al-Muhajir, who was traveling on a motorcycle in the Aleppo region. The official, who remained anonymous due to lack of authority to discuss the matter publicly, provided these details about the operation.

Although al-Muhajir was in northwest Syria during the strike, he is known to usually operate in the eastern regions.

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How the U.S. military confirmed al-Muhajir’s identity at the time of the strike remains undisclosed.

On Sunday, U.S. Central Command announced there were no signs of civilian casualties resulting from the strike. They are, however, investigating reports of a civilian possibly being injured.

For three consecutive days, U.S. officials have protested against the unsafe and disruptive behavior of Russian fighter jets around American drones.

U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich stated on Friday that the Russian planes had made “18 unprofessional close passes that caused the MQ-9s to react to avoid unsafe situations.”

The first incident took place on Wednesday morning when Russian military planes exhibited “unsafe and unprofessional behavior” against three American MQ-9 drones carrying out a mission against IS, as per the U.S. military. On Thursday, it was reported that Russian fighter aircraft acted “incredibly unsafe and unprofessionally” against both French and U.S. aircraft over Syria.

Air Forces Central Command spokesman, Col. Michael Andrews, noted that the Thursday encounter lasted almost an hour, involving close fly-bys by one SU-34 and one SU-35, which fired flares directly at the MQ-9.

While the drones were unarmed during the earlier encounters, they were equipped with weapons on Friday while targeting al-Muhajir.

Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, stated, “We have made it clear that we remain committed to the defeat of ISIS throughout the region.”

Meanwhile, Rear Adm. Oleg Gurinov, head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, announced that a six-day joint training exercise with the Syrian military had commenced. He also expressed Moscow’s concern over the U.S.-led coalition’s drone flights over northern Syria, labeling them as “systematic violations of protocols” meant to prevent conflicts between the two militaries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about US Drone Strike

Who was killed in the US drone strike in Syria?

The drone strike carried out by the US in Syria resulted in the death of an Islamic State group leader named Usamah al-Muhajir.

What was the confrontation with the Russian military about?

The Russian military reportedly harassed US MQ-9 Reaper drones with their aircraft over the western part of Syria. The confrontation lasted about two hours and occurred while the drones were searching for the Islamic State group leader.

Were any civilians killed or injured in the drone strike?

The US Central Command stated there were no indications of any civilian deaths resulting from the strike. However, they are currently assessing reports suggesting a civilian may have been injured.

How has the US responded to the Russian military’s actions?

US officials have expressed their concerns regarding the unsafe and unprofessional behavior of Russian fighter jets in the region. The US Air Forces Central Command further reported multiple close encounters with Russian planes, which they labeled as “unprofessional.”

What is the Russian viewpoint on the US-led coalition’s drone flights?

Rear Adm. Oleg Gurinov, head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, expressed concern about the drone flights by the U.S.-led coalition over northern Syria, considering them as systematic violations of protocols intended to prevent military clashes.

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TravisM July 10, 2023 - 12:54 am

So russia trying to stop us from eliminating terrorists, huh? Seems kinda shady…

JohnDoe93 July 10, 2023 - 10:13 am

man, it’s about time! they finally got him…i mean, at least thts what they say. Anyone got more info??

BookWorm86 July 10, 2023 - 11:21 am

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that they can’t tell us how they identified the target. Seems sketchy.

CindyLou_22 July 10, 2023 - 4:45 pm

Scary stuff happening in Syria, prayin for the people there.

WorldWatcher July 10, 2023 - 6:52 pm

Looks like Russia’s not liking the US drones in the air. This could get ugly.

DefenseInsider July 10, 2023 - 9:44 pm

For those who are wondering, MQ-9 Reapers are really high-tech drones. I read about ’em a lot. Impressive machines but also kinda frightening.

TechLover July 10, 2023 - 10:06 pm

Anyone got the deets on these drones? must be cool tech in there.

PeaceSeeker July 11, 2023 - 12:01 am

All this violence and for what? will we ever learn to coexist?


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