In joint raid, Kurdish forces seize IS militant in Syria

FILE - US military vehicles on a patrol in the countryside near the town of Qamishli, Syria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. U.S. and Kurdish-led forces had arrested an Islamic State group militant in eastern Syria. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement Monday, Dec. 19, 2022 that they raided the home of an unnamed IS militant leader in the western countryside of Deir el-Zour and arrested him. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad, File)
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Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — A Kurdish-led group in Syria said Monday that its fighters alongside U.S. forces have arrested a wanted militant with the Islamic State group that continues to stage attacks in the region.

There are some 900 U.S. troops in Syria supporting Kurdish-led forces in the fight against the militant group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said its fighters led a raid on the home of an unnamed IS leader on Dec. 16 in the western countryside of Deir el-Zour. The group’s statement claimed the arrested man managed militant cells in the region.

The SDF shared a photo purporting to show evidence they confiscated during the raid, including two cellphones, a dozen SIM cards, an internet router, a Syrian-issued identity document and a pistol with three magazines.

The SDF added that this was the fifth such raid over the past two weeks.

They have frequently targeted the militants mostly in parts of northeastern Syria under Kurdish control. On Dec. 11, a U.S. helicopter raid in eastern Syria killed two IS militants.

Syria has been mired in a bloody civil war since 2011 that has drawn in regional and global powers. Syrian President Bashar Assad has mostly regained control of the country, but parts of its north remain under the control of rebels, as well as Turkish and Syrian Kurdish forces.

Turkey strongly opposes the presence of the Syrian Kurdish groups along its border that it blames for attacks within its territory. A series of Turkish airstrikes in the area earlier this month temporarily halted U.S.-Kurdish patrols and raised concerns that cross border tensions would hinder the fight against the Islamic State group.

On Nov. 30, IS announced that leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in battle. The U.S. said al-Qurayshi was killed in an operation conducted by Syrian rebel forces in the southern city of Daraa.