BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army has killed five Islamic State leaders in an attack in eastern Syria, Syrian state TV reported on Saturday.
A headline bar quoting the state TV correspondent in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor identified the five as Saudi, Turkish, Chechen, Jordanian and Iraqi.
The United States said on Saturday its U.S. special forces had carried out a raid that killed a Tunisian identified as a leading Islamic State member in the same area of Syria.
That attack marked a departure from Washington’s strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants in Syria, where the United States has ruled out the idea of partnering with President Bashar al-Assad to fight Islamic State.
Islamic State controls wide areas of eastern Syria which it has declared part of a cross-border “caliphate” that includes territory in Iraq.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reports on the Syrian conflict, put the Islamic State death toll from the U.S. raid at 32 including four leaders, three of whom it identified as north African.
A U.S. official said that about a dozen fighters were killed in the raid.
Before news of the U.S. special forces’ operation broke in the United States on Saturday, Syrian state TV had reported that the Syrian army was behind the raid. The Observatory said the report had erroneously claimed the raid was Syrian.
Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Hugh Lawson