The drone strike that killed ISIS’ most notorious online recruiter in Syria last week was part of a stepped-up effort by the CIA and U.S. Special Operations forces to target and eliminate senior members of the terror group, according to a published report.
The Washington Post, citing U.S. officials, reported Tuesday that the collaborative effort has been responsible for “several” recent strikes against senior ISIS operatives deemed “high-value targets.” The program’s most notable success has been the death of Junaid Hussain, a British-born computer hacker who used social media in an effort to inspire homegrown jihadists to commit terror attacks.
The reported program is independent of airstrikes carried out in Syria by a U.S.-led coalition, which has the aim of dislodging ISIS from the swath of territory it captured in Iraq and Syria last year. A recent U.S. intelligence assessment concluded that conventional airstrikes had done little to affect ISIS’ manpower or territorial footprint.
The Post reported that the targets of the drone strikes had been identified by the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC), while the actual missions were being carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). According to the paper, the drone strikes constitute a fraction of the more than 2,450 strikes conducted in Syria over the past 12 months. An additional 4,000 airstrikes have targeted ISIS in Iraq.
Read More: CIA, Special Operations forces reportedly launch drone war against ISIS in Syria | Fox News