US precision airstrikes in Syria killed a senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Afghan Al-Masri, Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said on Tuesday.
Cook, during a press conference, said that the US forces had conducted a precision drone strike targetting militants on November 18 near Sarmada in Syria. Al-Masri joined the terror group in Afghanistan but later moved to its Syrian affiliate, Cook said. The al-Qaeda leader had links to terorrist groups operating throughout the Southwest Asia.
"Al-Masri's removal from the battlefield represents another blow to al Qaeda and Syria and demonstrates continued U.S. determination to target al Qaeda leaders wherever they pose a threat to the U.S., our allies and interests," Cook said.
"He had ties to terrorist groups operating throughout Southwest Asia, including groups responsible for attacking US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and those plotting to attack the West," the Pentagon press secretary added.
The Pentagon, however, did not provide any further information about the Masri and only revealed that the terror operative killed has a "senior leadership role" in al-Qaeda."This is someone who helped organize Al-Qaeda activities and has been on our radar for some time," Cook said.
A US-led coalition is conducting airstrikes on terror camps of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria which has taken over swathes of Syria and Iraq to form an Islamic caliphate. However, they also conduct strikes on affiliates and leaders of other terror groups including al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
The Pentagon, in October, had announced that the US airstrikes in the region had also killed a Nusra Front senior leader Salama Mabrouk.