U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has been leading the fight against ISIS in Syria, where it has 900 troops deployed primarily in the northeast. Working closely with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-trained Kurdish and Arab militia, CENTCOM has been conducting operations aimed at eliminating ISIS leaders and disrupting their networks. BNN
Last week, the Central Command forces said it had captured Abu Halil al-Fad’ani, an ISIS Syria Operational and Facilitation official, who was assessed to have relationships throughout the ISIS network in the region, during a raid on September 25.
“The capture of ISIS officials like al-Fad’ani increases our ability to locate, target, and remove terrorist from the battlefield,” CENTCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Troy Garlock said in the release. “USCENTCOM remains committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
In August, CENTCOM forces and coalition partners conducted eight partner operations in Syria, in which seven ISIS operatives were detained and an eighth was killed, according to CENTCOM. In Iraq, 18 operatives were detained and six were killed throughout operations in August in Iraq.
Another ISIS operative — Hudayfah al Yemeni, an “ISIS attack facilitator” — and two of his associates were captured in a helicopter raid in Syria in April.
The capture of Shaykh is significant as it strikes at the heart of ISIS operations. He was identified as having relationships throughout the ISIS network in the region, and his capture is expected to increase the effectiveness of U.S. counterterrorism operations. It will likely lead to the identification and targeting of more members of the group, further destabilizing ISIS and its operations. Capture of an attack facilitator will disrupt the organization’s ability to plot and carry out operations.
Facilitators come in many guises. Some procure children from Syrian refugee camps to radicalize them and make them soldiers for the jihad.