US targets senior al-Qaeda leader in unilateral strike in northwest Syria

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The United States carried out a strike on northwest Syria on Wednesday targeting an unnamed al-Qaeda leader, the Central Command said in a written statement.

“At 11:42 a.m. local time on May 3rd, US Central Command forces conducted a unilateral strike in Northwest Syria targeting a senior al-Qaeda leader,” it said, without giving a name or specifying whether the leader had been killed.

The strike comes just days after Turkey announced that its forces had killed the head of ISIS in the same zone in northwest Syria, where Turkish-backed opposition fighters hold sway.

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Residents of the area, which mostly consists of hilly plains dotted with shrubbery and boulders, told Reuters that they heard three loud blasts that sounded like air strikes.

The White Helmets, a rescue force in opposition-held parts of Syria, said an unidentified drone had carried out a strike in the northwestern province of Idlib and killed a sheep herder.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former Syrian offshoot of al-Qaeda, holds swathes of territory in northwest Syria and its civilian branch also controls civil administrations in the area.

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