U.S. says nearly 700 ISIS operatives killed in Syria and Iraq in 2022
American forces and their allies killed a total of 686 ISIS suspects operating in Syria and Iraq this year, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Thursday.
Driving the news: U.S. and coalition forces have successfully targeted several senior ISIS members this year, notably in February when the militant group's ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died during a raid in northwestern Syria.
- "The emerging, reliable and steady ability of our Iraqi and Syrian partner forces to conduct unilateral operations to capture and kill ISIS leaders allows us to maintain steady pressure on the ISIS network," said Maj. Gen. Matt McFarlane said in a statement.
Of note: "No U.S. forces were injured or killed" in operations in the region this year, per a CENTCOM statement.
By the numbers: 466 ISIS operatives were killed and 215 others captured in Syria in 2022, according to CENTCOM, which covers the Middle East, along with Central and South Asia.
- "At least 220 ISIS operatives" were killed in Iraq and 159 suspects were captured in the country this year, CENTCOM said.
- Gen. Michael "Eric" Kurilla, commander of CENTCOM in a statement that there's currently "more than 10,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities throughout Syria and more than 20,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities in Iraq."
The big picture: U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces ousted ISIS militants from the last territory they held in the Middle East, Baghouz in Syria, in 2019. However, Kurilla noted that ISIS is still "at large."
- The group claimed 74 attacks in Syria and another 73 in Iraq from July to September, according to a November report from the Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve.
Between the lines: Former CIA chief and retired Army Gen. David Petraeus told Task & Purpose that the remaining ISIS fighters hadn't formed any major insurgencies and they didn't control areas like they did when they held territories.
The bottom line: "While we have significantly degraded its capability, the vile ideology remains unconstrained," Kurilla said.
- "We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations," he added.