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US special forces in Syria 'kill senior Isis member Abu Sayyaf'

Published 16/05/2015

Isis fighters take part in a military parade in Syria (file photo)
Isis fighters take part in a military parade in Syria (file photo)

US special forces killed senior Isis commander Abu Sayyaf during a ground operation in eastern Syria, the White House has claimed.

A White House statement said Sayyaf played a key role in "overseeing ISIS' illicit oil and gas operations".

Sayyaf's wife was reportedly captured in the raid. The operation also led to the freeing of a young Yezidi woman 'who appears to have been held as a slave by the couple'.

It is the first ground operation on Syrian territory officially acknowledged by the US government.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said: "Last night, at the direction of the Commander in Chief, I ordered US Special Operations Forces to conduct an operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria to capture an ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm Sayyaf.

"Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL's military operations and helped direct the terrorist organisation's illicit oil, gas, and financial operations as well.

"Abu Sayyaf was killed during the course of the operation when he engaged US forces. US forces captured Umm Sayyaf, who we suspect is a member of ISIL, played an important role in ISIL's terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night."

All US troops are said to have returned safely. The US special forces flew into Syria Friday night on a helicopter.

Syrian television reports that the Syrian army killed 'Isis oil minister' Abu al-Taym al-Saudi.

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