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Reports of Int’l Coalition Strike Killing ISIS Oil Commander in East Syria

Reports of Int’l Coalition Strike Killing ISIS Oil Commander in East Syria

Sunday, 14 February, 2021 - 12:15
US military vehicle near an oil facility in northeastern Syria (AFP)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Saturday the targeting of ISIS commander Abu Yassin al-Iraqi by a drone strike staged by the US-led International Coalition in the countryside of Syria’s northeastern province of Deir Ezzor.

According to sources reporting to the UK-based war monitor, al-Iraqi was the successor of Abu Ward al-Iraqi, who was assassinated early on in 2020.

Al-Iraqi is believed to be the head of the terror group’s oil network in the area.

“Abu Al-Ward al-Iraqi was an ISIS official who was in charge of oil wells in Fulayteh, Al-Azraq and Al-Melh,” the Observatory reported.

“Even after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US-led International Coalition) had captured the area, al-Iraqi remained a coordinator and mediator between SDF and ISIS to facilitate the passage of oil trucks to areas under the control of SDF and regime forces,” it added.

“Al-Iraqi was also the “Emir of Al-Badia” (the commander of Al-Badia sector) and he was in charge of forming and supporting ISIS cells.”

This follows a US defense official announcing that US forces in Syria are focused on fighting the remnants of the ISIS group and are not guarding oil fields as previously ordered by ex-president Donald Trump.

Since a US firm contracted last year with the Kurds in northern Syria to help exploit northeastern Syria oil reserves, US troops are not involved, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The 900 US military personnel and contractors in the region "are not authorized to provide assistance to any other private company, including its employees or agents, seeking to develop oil resources in Syria," said Kirby.

The only exception is when US troops in Syria are operating under existing authorizations to protect civilians, he said, which could explain the continuing presence of US forces around the area of the oil fields.

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