Middle East

Turkiye captures new Daesh leader in Istanbul, reports claim

Turkish security forces have reportedly captured the leader of the terror group, Daesh, only months after its former and second leader was taken out in an operation in north-west Syria.

According to anonymous senior Turkish officials, quoted by the news site, OdaTV, a raid in the city of Istanbul this week resulted in the capture of a man apparently identified as Abu Al-Hassan Al-Qurayshi – the brother of the first Daesh leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and the new head of the group since March.

The site did not, however, mention how it obtained the information regarding his identification. His capture was conducted after a lengthy period of police surveillance of the house where he was reportedly staying.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was informed of the Daesh leader’s alleged capture, the officials said, and is expected to announce the development in the coming days.

READ: Turkey, Iraq agree on getting rid of terrorism ‘as soon as possible’

Over the past eight years, Turkiye and its security forces have played a part in combating Daesh and its cells throughout the region, regularly conducting raids and capturing operatives both within Turkiye and in neighbouring Syria.

The claims in these reports were not able to be independently verified by either Middle East Monitor or other news outlets, nor have Turkish authorities yet confirmed them. If Al-Qurayshi has indeed been captured by Ankara, though, it would represent a new level in its counter-terrorism operations.

It would also be the first case of a Daesh leader – or other regional terror group leader throughout the past decade – being intercepted outside of Syria and Iraq, with only the group’s operatives, affiliates, or explosives experts being captured in a city like Istanbul, until now.

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