US special forces neutralize ISIL leader named Abu Sayyaf

United States Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an official news release by the Pentagon that US special forces conducted an operation in Eastern Syria to arrest Islamic State of Iraq and Levant terrorist organization senior leader.

“Last night, at the direction of the Commander in Chief, I ordered U.S. special operations forces to conduct an operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria to capture an ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm Sayyaf,” the defense Secretary said.

“Abu Sayyaf was killed during the course of the operation when he engaged U.S. forces,” he said.

“Abu Sayyaf was a senior ISIL leader who, among other things, had a senior role in overseeing ISIL’s illicit oil and gas operations – a key source of revenue that enables the terrorist organization to carry out their brutal tactics and oppress thousands of innocent civilians,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.

“U.S. forces captured Umm Sayyaf, who we suspect is a member of ISIL, played an important role in ISIL’s terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night,” the defense secretary said.

No U.S. forces were killed or injured during the operation, which represented “another significant blow to ISIL,” Carter said.

“And it is a reminder that the United States will never waver in denying safe haven to terrorists who threaten our citizens, and those of our friends and allies,” he said.

“I thank the extraordinary men and women in uniform who executed this complex and challenging mission, along with all those who supported it. Their professionalism, dedication, and valor are a deep source of pride and inspiration to us all,” Carter added.