American forces took out ISIS leader Usamah al-Muhajir in Syria in July. The assassination occurred on the same day US forces had an altercation with Russia in the region’s skies. US Central Command commander Gen. Michael Kurilla said, “We have made it clear that we remain committed to the defeat of ISIS throughout the region. ISIS remains a threat, not only to the region but well beyond.”
The United States has decimated ISIS in the Middle East, including killing its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2019. The terror group was at its peak in 2014 and 2015 when it controlled around one-third of Iraq and Syria, but American operations have reduced the organization to minor factions that still mount occasional insurgency attacks but are essentially defunct as a powerful force.
An MQ-9 Reaper drone attack carried out the killing of Usamah al-Muhajir, and there were no other fatalities. The launch of the drone caused a minor skirmish with Russia. Video footage shows Russian fighter jets impeding MQ-9 drones mid-air in what US commanders described as “harassment.”
“These events represent a new level of unprofessional and unsafe action by Russian air forces operating in Syria,” said US Air Forces Central command.
Formed in 2006, ISIS was one of the most terrifying Islamist groups to emerge from the Middle East. It was initially led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who was killed by an American-Iraqi operation in 2010. He was replaced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the same year.
The actions and reputation of ISIS spread terror worldwide, particularly during the mid-2010s when it expanded into Syria. Countless people were murdered in Syria during their expansion, and countless more were detained and tortured. Videos emerged of ISIS operatives beheading people and burning them alive, and thousands of women and girls were captured and forced to be “wives” to ISIS fighters.
Shockingly, thousands of young American and European Muslims traveled to the Middle East to join the terror group.