Multiple Casualties Reported as US Conducts 'Counterterrorism' Raid in Syria - Video

© AP Photo / Baderkhan AhmadUS attack helicopter shoots flares in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022
US attack helicopter shoots flares in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2022
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Thursday that US Special Operations units have successfully completed a counterterrorism mission in northwestern Syria.
Multiple people, including civilians, have been killed as a result of a US raid in northwestern Syria, The Associated Press reported, citing local residents and activists.
Witnesses, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the AP that they saw body parts scattered around a house in the village of Atmeh, a town in Idlib province. They added that the raid involved helicopters, explosions and machine-gun fire.
The exact number of those killed is yet unknown, with Ahmad Rahhal, a citizen journalist who visited the site, claiming he saw 12 bodies. Others were reportedly under the rubble.
According to AP, locals described the overnight raid in Idlib as the biggest operation since the October 2019 killing of Daesh* leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The media outlet cited a US official, who discussed the details of the military operation on condition of anonymity, as saying that there was at least one major explosion. The source added that one of the helicopters involved in the raid suffered a mechanical malfunction and had to be blown up on the ground.
A video allegedly showing the overnight raid has emerged online:
The reports about casualties come shortly after Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that US Special Operations units had conducted what he described as a "successful" counterterrorism mission in Syria.
"U.S. Special Operations forces under the control of U.S. Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria. The mission was successful. There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available," Kirby said in a statement on Thursday.
The Pentagon did not clarify who the target was, or if any terrorists or civilians were killed or injured.
Even though Daesh's efforts to establish a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria have failed, the US has maintained its illegal military presence in the country by asserting that the troops are there to ensure the "enduring defeat" of terrorists.
In October 2019, then-US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would be withdrawing its forces from Syria, but eventually backtracked. He stated that a "small" American contingent would stay behind to "keep the oil", also claiming that the revenues from the crude would go to fund the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their militia.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly condemned the US presence in the country, which he views as illegal as it was not mandated by either Damascus or the United Nations. Damascus has also accused the US of seeking to steal Syrian oil.
*Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State/ISIS, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
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