Although the goal of peacekeeping is to ensure that no attacks will be carried out in the future, the killing of Islamic State leader Maher al-Agal significantly contributed to the weakening of the terrorist organization.

According to US President Joe Biden, an airstrike carried out by the US military on Tuesday resulted in the death of a senior member of the Islamic State. A drone strike in Jindayris, located in the northwestern part of Syria, resulted in the death of Maher al-Agal, who the Pentagon recognized as one of the top five leaders of the Islamic State and as the head of the Islamic State in Syria.

“His death in Syria takes a key terrorist off the field and significantly degrades the ability of [the Islamic State] to plan, resource, and conduct their operations in the region,” the White House noted.

President Biden spoke with President Ghani today, affirming U.S. support for continued development, humanitarian and security assistance in Afghanistan, and a political settlement that lets the Afghan people live in peace. (Source: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The United States Central Command stated in a news release that the strike that killed Agal also fatally wounded an unnamed senior official of the Islamic State. Agal was the primary target of the strike carried out last July 12. Although it was not immediately feasible to validate such information, the Pentagon stated that an “initial review” suggested there were no civilian casualties during the operation.

“This strike reaffirms CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said Col. Joe Buccino, a CENTCOM spokesperson. Buccino continued to say that eliminating these ISIS warheads will make it significantly more difficult for the terrorist organization to continue to plan strikes worldwide. “The removal of these ISIS leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further the plot and carry out global attacks,” he said.

“ISIS continues to represent a threat to the US and partners in the region,” Buccino went on. CENTCOM reiterated that the agency “maintains a sufficient and sustainable presence” in the conflicted region and will “continue to counter threats against regional security.”

The White House also expressed that the airstrike is a monument to the bravery and expertise of the US armed forces, as it symbolizes the result of persistent and thorough covert operations. It also indicates that the US government does not need thousands of troops engaged in strike missions to identify and remove perils in the nation.

The execution creates a “powerful message” to all terrorists who threaten the country as a whole and its interests elsewhere in the world. The US continues its pursuit of justice for the people.

About ISIS

ISIS has its ultimate goal of establishing an “Islamic caliphate” throughout Iraq, Syria, and even further afield. The organization follows Sharia Law, which originates in the eighth century, to create a community that reflects the region’s rich history.

ISIS employs current tools such as social media to propagate “religious fundamentalism.” As their leaders advocate for a return to the early days of Islam, fighters demolish religious places and important cultural artifacts to demonstrate their cause.

ISIS can fund its operations through the production of oil and the trafficking of fuel, collecting taxes, selling antiquities that have been seized, extortion, and controlling crops. From April 2010 until his death in October 2019, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi served as the leader of the terrorist organization. After his demise, ISIS announced that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi would take over as the group’s commander. However, al-Qurayshi passed away in February of 2022, and since then, there has been no announcement on a replacement leader.

Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border (3 August 2012). (Source: Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell on the Turkish border, “Refugees Flee Aleppo; Hot, Barren Turkish Camps Await.”, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Recent Captivity

In June, US-allied forces declared to have caught a senior member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group named Hani Ahmed Al-Kurdi, the ISIS leader of Raqa, who was responsible for making bombs and other explosives. Eyewitnesses revealed troops in helicopters going down on an isolated residence in the insurgent territory in the northwestern part of Syria. Such actions by US forces are highly uncommon in the regions of northern Syria that are governed by Turkish-backed rebels and other jihadist groups that are not affiliated with IS.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, headquartered in the United Kingdom, stated that during the encounter, there were gun skirmishes between the military and civilians living inside the village for seven minutes before the helicopters took off and captured the Islamic State leader.

Following the US-led military attack supported by a consortium of other governments in March 2019, ISIS lost its last territory. As a result, its forces in Syria primarily fled into desert hideouts. ISIS units since then have launched ambushes against the Syrian government or coalition troops and pulled out similar actions in Iraq. But, again, the Kurds directed these forces.