Close aide of former ISIS leader nabbed in Turkey

Afghan national who was a close aide of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi caught in Istanbul.

Elad Benari ,

Islamic State
Islamic State
Reuters

A close aide of killed Islamic State (ISIS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been caught in Istanbul, Turkish police said Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

The Afghan national, only identified by the codename Basim, was detained in the Atasehir district on the city’s Asian side on Wednesday, said an Istanbul police statement.

News reports of the joint operation with Turkey’s intelligence agency said the suspect had been involved in helping hide Baghdadi in Syria’s Idlib province after the fall of the group in 2019.

Basim was suspected of organizing training for ISIS while in Syria and Iraq, as well as serving on its decision-making council, according to local reports. He arrived in Turkey with a false passport and identity card.

ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in the land it controlled.

Since then, several military offensives, including those backed by the US-led international coalition, have since seen ISIS lose most areas it once controlled, including the loss of their de facto capital Raqqa in Syria.

Baghdadi was eliminated in late October of 2019 in a US operation in Syria after years of conflicting reports about his fate.

ISIS subsequently named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi as the jihadist group’s new leader.

Turkey regularly detains ISIS suspects, many who allegedly planned attacks in the country.

Days after Baghdadi was eliminated, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that his country captured Baghdadi’s wife in an operation in June of 2018.

A Turkish official later said the wife revealed “a lot of information” about the jihadist group’s “inner workings” after she was captured.

Turkey has also captured Rasmiya Awad, the sister of Baghdadi, as well as her husband and daughter-in-law.



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