Erdogan: IS leader in Syria killed by Turkey

Turkish intelligence has killed the alleged Islamic State leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi in Syria. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said this to Turkish broadcaster TRT on Sunday, international news agencies report.

“This person was neutralized yesterday as part of an operation by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization in Syria,” Erdogan said, referring to al-Qurashi. According to Erdogan, the Turkish intelligence organization had been after him for a long time. He gave no further details about the operation.

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According to Syrian local and intelligence sources, the operation took place in the northern Syrian town of Jindires, which is controlled by Syrian rebel groups backed by Turkey. The town was one of the hardest hit places in the strong earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6.

Heavy explosion

A resident said fighting on the outskirts of Jindires began Saturday night and lasted about an hour before residents heard a massive explosion, according to AFP news agency. Turkey has had military forces in northern Syria since 2020.

Islamic State elected al-Qurashi as its leader in November 2022 after its predecessor Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Quraishi was killed in an operation in Syria. His predecessor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in February 2022 in a US attack in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

IS took over large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and the then leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed an Islamic caliphate in the area. Since then, however, IS’s grip on the area has been reduced.