The Pentagon has acknowledged a September 20 drone strike in Syria’s Idlib province, which they say targeted Al-Qaeda leader Salim Abu-Ahmad and caused no civilian casualties. The area is controlled by Turkish-backed militants.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on Thursday that it conducted a “kinetic counterterrorism strike” targeting Abu-Ahmad, on a stretch of road in the Syrian desert.
“Initial indications are that we struck the individual we were aiming for, and there are no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike,” said Navy Lieutenant Josie Lynne Lenny, a CENTCOM spokesperson.
American UAV with Hellfire killed two AlQaide terrorists in Idlib. One from Yemen other from Tunis pic.twitter.com/Eg9t8Urwxe
Citing an unnamed Pentagon official, Fox News claimed that Abu-Ahmad was “responsible for planning, funding, and approving trans-regional Al-Qaeda attacks.”
The most recent publicly known US drone strike against an alleged terrorist target was in Kabul on August 28, amid the ongoing airlift from Afghanistan. CENTCOM initially claimed there were no civilian casualties, then said “secondary explosions” may have caused some incidental deaths.
For two weeks, the Pentagon insisted the strike had been “righteous” and followed proper procedures, until it acknowledged on September 17 that it was a “mistake” that took the lives of 10 innocent civilians, including seven children. No known militants or terrorist operatives were killed in the strike, by the military’s own admission.
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