President Donald Trump authorized a special forces operation targeting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, and the military says that the ISIS leader was successful killed during the mission.
“Amid reports Saturday of U.S. military helicopters over Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a senior Pentagon official familiar with the operation and Army official briefed on the matter told Newsweek that Baghdadi was the target of the top-secret operation in the last bastion of the country’s Islamist-dominated opposition, a faction that has clashed with ISIS in recent years,” Newsweek reported. “A U.S. Army official briefed on the results of the operation told Newsweek that Baghdadi was killed in the raid. And the Defense Department told the White House they have ‘high confidence’ that the high-value target killed was Baghdadi, but further verification is pending.”
The operation, which was authorized a week ago by the president, was carried out on Saturday by U.S. special forces after they received intel on al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts.
Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq after being released from custody in 2004 and rose up the ranks of the Islamic terrorist group as they acquired other groups and eventually became ISIS.
“As the group took advantage of a U.S. military exit to further expand, he renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham—or the Levant—better known as ISIS, in 2013, seeking to expand to neighboring Syria, where a civil war was raging,” Newsweek added. “Baghdadi’s forces made lightning gains across both Iraq and Syria, and in 2014 he declared his group a global caliphate from the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque in Iraq’s second city of Mosul in his only known public appearance as ISIS leader. Officially known from then on simply as the Islamic State, the group began to grab world attention not only for atrocities committed across the region, but in high-profile strikes on civilians in the West as well.”
Decimating ISIS has been a top priority for the Trump administration ever since Trump took office in January 2017.
Shortly after taking office, reports from Syria and around the Middle East indicated that Trump’s aggressive strategy in going after the Islamic terrorists was highly successful.
“Nearly a third of territory reclaimed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been won in the past six months, due to new policies adopted by the Trump administration,” The Washington Post reported in 2017. “Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have ‘dramatically accelerated’ gains against the militants.”
“Combined Islamic State losses in both countries since the group’s peak control in early 2015 total about 27,000 square miles of territory — 78 percent of militant holdings in Iraq and 58 percent in Syria,” The Post added. “About 8,000 square miles have been reclaimed under Trump, McGurk said in a briefing for reporters.”
The administration’s continued push to eliminate ISIS comes after Trump recently announced that U.S. forces were pulling out of northern Syria, in which some ISIS prisoners were believed to have escaped. With Saturday night’s raid, it is clear that the Trump administration is not quitting its stated goal of completely eliminating ISIS.
Trump deployed military forces to Syria’s oil fields late this week to secure resources and to prevent the oil from falling in the hands of terrorists or other nations that are enemies of the U.S.