Across the Bay

Monday, October 27, 2008

US Strike Targeted Abu Ghadiyah?

Addendum: This AP report seems to confirm Bill Roggio's post.

My friend Bill Roggio has the best report so far on the US raid on an al-Qaeda target harbored by Syria:

The US military incursion into Syria was aimed at the senior leader of al Qaeda's extensive network that funnels foreign fighters, weapons, and cash from Syria into Iraq, a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

US special operations hunter-killer teams entered Syria in an attempt to capture Abu Ghadiya, a senior al Qaeda leader who has been in charge of the Syrian network since 2005. US intelligence analysts identified Ghadiya as the leader of the Syrian network, The Washington Post reported in July. Ghadiya was identified as a “major target” by the US military in February 2008.

The raid to capture Ghadiya occurred in the town of Sukkariya near Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, just five miles from the Iraqi border. Four US helicopters crossed the border and two of the helicopters landed to drop off special operations forces, who then proceeded to clear structures.
US officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment if Ghadiya was killed or captured during the raid.

The US military has officially refused to confirm or deny the raid took place. But several senior intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject told The Long War Journal that the raid was indeed carried out inside Syria.
The cross-border raid took place just three days after Major General John Kelly, the commander of Multinational Force - West, said Syria is "problematic." Kelly said the Syrian the government refused to secure the border and al Qaeda operatives are openly working inside Syria.

"The Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi intelligence forces feel that al Qaeda operatives and others operate, live pretty openly on the Syrian side," Kelly said. "And periodically we know that they try to come across."
The military is also rebuilding a berm along the Syrian border in an effort to stop infiltration into Iraq from Syria. "We're doing much more work along the Syrian border than we've done in the past," Kelly said.

Bill goes on to discuss details of Syria's sponsorship of al-Qaeda, a theme that my regular readers are familiar with, and which I've addressed recently as well.

PS: On a separate note, Bill and I had recently worked on a batch of intercepted letters from al-Qaeda leaders on the current state of the organization in Iraq. You can check Bill's post on that here, and my translation of the documents here.