Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday, April 30, that Turkish intelligence forces tracked down Islamic State leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi in Syria.
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Images shot by state broadcaster TRT Haber broadcast on Monday, May 1, showed what it said was the location where al-Qurashi was found and killed over the weekend.
Turkey’s intelligence forces neutralized Islamic State leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi in Syria, President Tayyib Erdogan said https://t.co/VH5KY9qXEN pic.twitter.com/ePblIZbUkF
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 1, 2023
The Islamic State selected al-Qurashi as its leader in November 2022 after the previous IS leader was killed in an operation in southern Syria.
The hideout was located in Jindires, Syria, some 7 kilometers from the border with Turkey. The area is controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups and was one of the worst affected in the February 6 earthquake that hit both Turkey and Syria. The hideout itself was severely damaged, even partly destroyed.
According to the TRT Türk media outlet, al-Qurashi failed to respond to calls from the soldiers that he surrender. To reach him, the soldiers first blew down the wall of the house, and then the entrance door and more walls.
“When al-Qurashi realized that he will be captured, he detonated his suicide bomber’s vest,” TRT reported.
According to the media outlet, there were no casualties among the soldiers carrying out the four-hour operation, nor were there any civilian victims of collateral damage.
Syrian local and security sources also confirmed that the raid took place in the town, while the Syrian National Army, an opposition faction with a security presence in the area, did not immediately issue any comment.
Islamic State took over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, and its head at the time, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate across territory that had housed millions.