WASHINGTON, May 16, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in a statement today that U.S. special operations forces yesterday conducted an operation in Syria to capture a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist organization.
“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,” Carter said.
Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL’s military operations and also helped direct the terrorist organization’s illicit oil, gas and financial operations, the defense secretary said.
“Abu Sayyaf was killed during the course of the operation when he engaged U.S. forces,” he 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,” Carter said.
No U.S. forces were killed or injured during the operation, which represented “another significant blow to ISIL,” the defense secretary 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 continued.
“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 said.