Türkish intelligence forces in Syria have “neutralised” — meaning, killed — the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group Abu Hussein Al-Qurayshi, as per a statement given on television by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Türkiye.
“This individual was neutralised as part of an operation by the Türkish national intelligence organisation in Syria yesterday,” said Erdoğan in a TV interview with TRT Türk, broadcast on Sunday.
A report from The Guardian today said that as per Syrian sources, the Türkish raid in which the Islamic State leader is believed to have been killed took place in Jandaris, north Syria, which has been badly affected both by the war and by the February earthquake.
According to reports from news agencies, the Türkish raid in Jandaris began on Saturday night and continued past midnight on Sunday — the climax came with an explosion. The focus of the operation was a derelict farm.
With this, the Islamic State leadership of Abu Hussein Al-Qurayshi has ended within six months. He rose to the leadership position in November last year, succeeding Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi, who was killed in a raid by forces of the United States.
Just a few days ago, Islamic State had suffered another setback when the Taliban, which is itself seen as a terrorist group, said that it had killed a top Islamic State militant, someone believed to be responsible for the August 2021 suicide attack at Kabul airport in the middle of the American troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some 13 members of the US forces and 170 Afghans had been killed in that suicide bombing.
The Taliban and Islamic State have been rivals since 2015, when Islamic State Khorasan Province (aka ISIS-K) was formed. Khorasan is a historical region that includes parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Seen as the “Afghan branch” of Islamic State, the terrorist group that is even more violent than Al-Qaeda, ISIS-K considers both Western powers and the Taliban as its enemy.
Islamic State, also variously called ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), was a formidable force in the Middle East just a decade ago, but has since been beaten back by Syrian resistance forces and a combination of international armed action. The outfit reached the peak of its power in 2014, when its then leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared an “Islamic caliphate” across lands in Iraq and Syria and controlled the lives of millions of ordinary people.