Children’s deaths confirmed following US raid in Syria
At least six children have been killed and one seriously injured in the Syrian village of Atmeh, where, as US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday, the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was “taken off the battlefield.”
“UNICEF confirms that at least six children were killed and one girl was badly injured overnight in the border town of Atmeh in the northwest of Syria due to heavy violence,” the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a statement.
Referring to the reports, UNICEF added that “civilian-populated areas were severely damaged.”
According to a US official quoted by AFP and Axios, al-Qurayshi blew himself up with a suicide vest during the US raid. The blast killed him and members of his family, including women and children, the source said.
The US president’s announcement came a few hours after the Pentagon confirmed its midnight “counterterrorism operation,” which targeted a house in Atmeh. Local residents told AP that multiple helicopters were involved, and explosions and machine gun fire could be heard.
Syrian media has reported that 13 people, including six children, were killed, and that the number of victims is expected to increase since some people remain under the debris following the raid. However, there has been no word of any civilian casualties in either Biden’s or the US military’s statements.
Al-Qurayshi became the leader of Islamic State after the death of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in October 2019.