The SAS got a bit of payback this week it seems. The British special operations unit earlier this week hit an ISIS-controlled village in eastern Syria. And in doing so, they dispatched 20 of ISIS fighters as they ran from the battlefield, scurrying away in vehicles. While the British make it a point not to comment on their Special Forces operations, this action was confirmed by sources on the ground.
The Brits were spoiling for some payback after two of their own were seriously wounded in a mortar attack a few weeks while supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are mainly the Kurdish fighters who have been loyal to the U.S.-led coalition. The two seriously wounded operators are expected to survive.
Earlier this week, the Special Air Service (SAS) mounted a raid against an Islamic State (ISIS) fortified position near the village of al-Shaafa in eastern Syria. According to the scant available information—the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) declines to comment on any inquiries about the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF)—the SAS assault force was comprised of around 30 operators, to include assaulters and snipers. Catching the jihadis completely unawares, the SAS raiding force managed to kill approximately 20 ISIS fighters as they attempted to flee the battlefield in vehicles.
The operation was a retaliatory strike for the serious wounding of two SAS operators by ISIS mortar strikes earlier in January. Although in critical condition, the two British commandos are expected to survive. The SAS operators were supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are predominantly comprised of Kurdish fighters, as they attacked close to the towns of Ash-Sha’Fah and Hajin.
Subject to the relentless pounding of coalition airstrikes and SDF attacks, ISIS’ hold in eastern Syria has shrunk to only a few small enclaves. On Wednesday, January 23, the SDF—supported by coalition special operations forces (SOF)—captured the village of Baghouz, one of the last ISIS strongholds in the area.
“Search operations are continuing in Baghouz to find any ISIS militants who are still hiding,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, to the Agence France-Presse (AFP). “The SDF will now have to push on into the farmland around Baghouz.”
Around 500 ISIS fighters, however, managed to escape.
Another SAS trooper was in the news recently when a lone operator helped local Kenyan authorities clear a hotel and rescue civilians that had been hurt in a terrorist attack.
Al-Shabab terrorists killed 21 people in the attack on the Hotel DusitD2 complex on January 16 and 17. And the SAS operator is being credited with saving countless lives.
The rest of the article on the Syrian operation can be read here:
Photos: British MOD