U.S. special forces conduct ‘counterterrorism mission’ in Syria

US special forces conducted a “counterterrorism mission” in northwest Syria, the Pentagon said early Thursday.

“The mission was successful. There were no US casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a brief statement.

More information would be released as available, Kirby said.

The Pentagon did not immediately disclose the target of the raid.

At least 13 people, including six children and four women, were killed in clashes and bombing that took place “after an American airdrop,” according to the White Helmets rescue service in Syria.

“Our teams treated the injured and recovered the bodies, and delivered the bodies to the forensic doctors in the city of Idlib and secured the place to protect civilians,” the White Helmets said in a statement.

The rescue service said the raid had targeted a residential building in Atmeh, a village in northern Syria near the Turkish border.

Residents and activists in the area described seeing a large ground assault, and US forces using loudspeakers asking women and children to leave the area, The Associated Press reports.

A Syrian man checks the scene following an overnight raid by US forces.Rami Al Sayed / AFP – Getty Images

In photos following the raid, residents and first responders could be seen surveying the damage, with the roof of a building partially collapsed and surrounded by rubble.

Syria has been gripped by over a decade of war. The United Nations’ human rights office in September said the war has left more than 350,000 people dead, and called the figure “certainly an undercount.”

The US was involved in an air campaign against the Islamic State group, which once claimed control of parts of Syria and Iraq. American forces have also conducted airstrikes since then, including last year.

In December the US and its military allies shot down a drone believed to be threatening a US outpost in southern Syria, officials said.

The outpost had been attacked by drones and rocket fire. The US troops at the base train Syrian opposition forces to fight against Islamic State fighters in the area.

In October, a US airstrike in northwest Syria killed a senior Al Qaeda leader, Abdul Hamid al-Matar, US Central Command said at the time.

In September, it said it killed an Al Qaeda leader near Idlib, which is also in northwestern Syria. The military says Al Qaeda uses Syria as a base.

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