U.S. forces killed ISIS leader with MQ-9 reaper drones
U.S. forces kill ISIS leader with MQ-9 Reaper drones during an airstrike in western Syria
- US forces killed ISIS leader Usamah al-Muhajir in an airstrike on Friday using three MQ-9 reaper drones, officials announced Sunday
- Officials say there were no indications that any civilians were killed, but the US and its allies are assessing reports of a civilian injury
- The strike only came after Russian forces ‘flew 18 unprofessional close passes that caused the MQ-9s to react to avoid unsafe situations’
U.S. forces killed an ISIS leader in Syria on Friday using the same drones that Russian aircrafts have been targeting in recent days.
The United States Central Command announced on Sunday it had taken out Usamah al-Muhajir in an airstrike two days prior using three MQ-9 Reaper drones.
CENTCOM said there were no indications that any civilians were killed in the strike, though the United States and its allies were assessing reports of a civilian injury.
‘We have made it clear that we remain committed to the defeat of ISIS throughout the region,’ commander Gen. Michael Kurilla said in a statement, adding: ‘ISIS remains a threat, not only to the region but well beyond.’
But the strike only came after Russian forces ‘flew 18 unprofessional close passes that caused the MQ-9s to react to avoid unsafe situations.’
US Army Gen. Michael Kurilla announced on Sunday that US forces killed an ISIS leader in Syria on Friday
A Russian SU-35 flies near a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone on Wednesday over Syria
Parachute flares, that according to the U.S. Air Force, were released by a Russian SU-35 are visible near a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over Syria
A Defense Department official told the Associated Press on Sunday the three Reaper drones had been flying overhead Friday searching for the militant when they were harassed for about two hours by Russian forces.
The drones were forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a dangerous situation.
Once cleared, the drones were able to strike Muhajir, who had been riding a motorcycle in the Aleppo region, according to the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Though he was killed near Aleppo, al-Muhajir operated primarily in the eastern part of country as the terrorist group seeks to reclaim much of Syria and Iraq.
It ran a third of Syria and Iraq at its peak in 2014. The group adheres to ultra-hardline interpretation of Islam, committing atrocities including the slaughter of thousands of Yazidis.
Since the collapse of the jihadist group’s ‘caliphate’ in 2019, three heads of ISIS, including its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have been killed. The latest to die was in October.
About 900 U.S. forces remain deployed in Syria to work with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces battling the Islamic State militants there.
It is unclear what al-Muhajir’s role in the terrorist organization was.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, the commander of the Ninth Air Force and the Combined Forces Air Component for U.S. Central Command, said the Kremlin’s jets were acting in an ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ manner
Friday marked the third day in a row that Russian forces assaulted US drones in the area, claiming the US was violating protocol in Syrian airspace. A Pentagon spokesman, however, discounted those allegations.
On Wednesday, Air Force Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, the commander of the Ninth Air Force and the Combined Forces Air Component for U.S. Central Command, said the Kremlin’s jets were acting in an ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ manner.
This forced the American aircraft to take ‘evasive maneuvers’, the General said, after the events which could have threatened the ‘safety of both U.S. and Russian forces’
‘Against established norms and protocols, the Russian jets dropped multiple parachute flares in front of the drones, forcing our aircraft to conduct evasive maneuvers,’ Grynkewich said.
‘Additionally, one Russian pilot positioned their aircraft in front of an MQ-9 and engaged afterburner, thereby reducing the operator’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.’
During the ‘unsafe’ hounding, one of the Russian pilots moved their aircraft in front of a drone and engaged the SU-35’s afterburner, which greatly increases its speed and air pressure.
The jet blast from the afterburner can potentially damage the Reaper’s electronics, and Grynkewich said it reduced the drone operator’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.
The next day, Grynkewich said, the Russian forces continued to drop flares in front of the drones and flew ‘dangerously close, endangering the safety of all aircraft involved.’
US officials are now urging Russian forces to ‘cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force, so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS.’
Source: Read Full Article