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US Runs Secret Drone Operation to Hunt ISIL Leaders in Syria

© AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth, FileAn unmanned US Predator drone
An unmanned US Predator drone - Sputnik International
The US Defense Department’s Special Operations forces (SOF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have launched a secret air operation to hunt ISIL leaders in Syria.

A US-led coalition of over 60 nations managed to stop the offensive of Islamic State (ISIL) militants in Syria and Iraq, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director said Sunday. - Sputnik International
US Open to Russian Involvement in Anti-ISIL Coalition
MOSCOW, (Sputnik) — The campaign is separate from the broader US-led military offensive in Syria and Iraq. Washington is at the helm of a multinational air campaign that has been launching airstrikes on ISIL targets in Western Asia since August 2014.

The CIA-SOF killing program, which utilizes armed drones, is aimed at tracking down and eliminating suspected ISIL militants that are deemed "high-value," US officials told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity. Official CIA and SOF spokespeople declined to comment.

New video depicts IS fighters training with American-made M16 assault rifles. - Sputnik International
ISIL Brandishes US Weapons in Iraq
The focus is primarily on ISIL militant group’s leadership and agents that seek to expand the Islamist network beyond Syrian borders.

So far, the clandestine campaign accounts for only a small number of almost 2,500 strikes launched over the past year against ISIL targets by the US Air Force, according to the outlet’s sources. But officials told the newspaper that CIA-SOF is increasingly viewed as a cooperation model that could be used in future conflicts.

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