Syria: US conducted cross-border raid

Syrian officials claim the US military conducted a cross-border raid into Syria from Iraqi territory.

The raid was reportedly carried out in the town of Sukkariya near Albu Kamal in eastern Syria. According to witnesses, four US helicopters crossed the border and two of the helicopters landed to drop off special operations forces.

Syrian television claimed nine people were killed and 14 were wounded during the raid. Syria claimed of those killed and wounded were construction workers.

The raid occurred close to the main border crossing point between Iraq and Syria. Al Qaeda declared an Islamic Emirate in Al Qaim right along the Iraqi border during the spring of 2005. Al Qaeda terrorized the local tribes and attempted to institute a Taliban-like rule. Al Qaim was the main infiltration route into Iraq until US Marines and Iraqi troops launched a campaign to dislodge al Qaeda from the region.

The US has neither confirmed nor denied the operation took place. If the attack occurred, it would have been carried out by Task Force 88, the special operations hunt-killer teams assigned to target al Qaeda operatives as well as Shia terrorists in Iraq.

The US has shied away from conducting strikes inside Syria in the past. If confirmed this would be the first such strike inside Syria since the US invaded Iraq in March of 2003.

Syria has sheltered Iraqi insurgents and foreign al Qaeda fighters, and allowed the groups to run camps inside the country. Syria also facilitates the movement of foreign fighters into the country and across the border into Iraq.

If the raid occurred, the US military must have detected a senior member of al Qaeda in Iraq in the region. Abu Ayyub al Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, is reported to have left the country earlier this year after the terror group lost its sanctuaries in Diyala province.

The US military may be closing in on al Qaeda’s senior leadership. US forces killed Abu Qaswarah, al Qaeda in Iraq’s second in command, during a raid in Mosul in northern Iraq on Oct. 15. The military has also killed and captured numerous al Qaeda leader and couriers over the past several weeks. The information obtained during these raids help to paint a picture of al Qaeda’s command structure inside of of Iraq as well as in neighboring countries.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • KnightHawk says:

    Had to be somebody or something pretty important.
    Nice to see if we know where the rats are we will take them out, good show gentlemen.

  • windu says:

    Task Force 88 rocks!! yeah baby

  • Mark E says:

    I also thought of al Masri right away. Could it have been some high ranking Baath still on the loose? Abdul Rahman Yasin maybe? bin Laden’s son?
    Hope we do find out.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Inshallah, we may have killed AQI’s #1 and #2 in the same month. Please? =)

  • crosspatch says:

    There must have been a reason for killing those “construction workers”. If this happened as stated, my gut instinct is that these “workers” were either armed guards of some sort or reacted in some way as to be perceived to be a threat to the mission such as making a move that could have been interpreted as an attempt to set off demolition charges or something.
    If we went in there and were prepared to cause enough of a commotion that it would never be kept quiet, there would be something of immense value associated with it; something so valuable that it would be worth any negative fallout from having done such an operation in such an overt fashion.

  • Marlin says:

    The American military is now confirming they were behind the strike.

    A U.S. military official said the raid by special forces targeted the foreign fighter network that travels through Syria into Iraq. The Americans have been unable to shut the network down in the area because Syria was out of the military’s reach.
    “We are taking matters into our own hands,” the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of cross-border raids.

    Breitbart: US special forces launch rare attack inside Syria

  • Ali says:

    Well done!!
    It’s about time the US/Iraqi troops work side by side to go anywhere to crush any rats that is opposed to democracy and freedom (though I don’t think the Iraqi Army was with the Americans – but hopefully we will join the Americans in future raids).
    Long live the USA and Iraq.
    However if there were civilian casualties I am against that.

  • Marlin says:

    The chutzpah of the Syrian government is something to behold. As if they’ve been innocent bystanders all these years.

    Syria called on the Iraqi government to carry out an immediate inquiry into the attack and to ensure that Iraq was not used for “aggression against Syria”, SANA said.

    Reuters: U.S. helicopters attack Syrian farm, 8 dead – Syria

  • Whammer says:

    Excellent news! The Syrians felt they were immune from the long reach of our Special Forces, but guess what? Just as the IAF took out their nuke facility, this proves we will also take out their terrorist infrastructure that continues to threaten our forces in Iraq. Screw them…..

  • Solomon2 says:

    I seem to recall that “construction workers” is a Lebanese euphemism for Hezbollah, not Al Qaida.
    The troops dismounted and attacked. I wonder what intel they collected – and if they captured any prisoners.

  • Alex says:

    This is very interesting that helicopters and special forces were sent in, instead of our drone-borne missile strikes in Pakistan. Perhaps we brought someone in alive?

  • jOE says:

    Yeah, I agree. Since this wasn’t a Predator strike, we wanted to confirm or capture the target. “Construction workers” is such a weak cover-up for a group of military-aged males huddled together…I just wish we’d publish pictures of the “construction workers” lying in their own blood with their weapons (censoring out their faces so as not to break, y’know, the law). Hopefully we got a big fish here…it woudn’t suprise me since we grabbed 13 suspects yesterday–one of them may have talked, but he would have had to talk very fast to get this going this quick.

  • Buff52 says:

    Syria since September 11, 2001 has been a haven for terrorists and people fighting us in Iraq. It a client of Iran.
    We should never tolerate a safe haven for enemy fighters, soldiers, agents, financiers etc. When we invaded Iraq, we should have turned left to Damascus, Syria and onto Beirut.
    Syria should not be allowed to be a safe haven.


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