Erdogan announces death of Islamic State group chief during Turkish raid in Syriatext_fields
Ankara: The death of Islamic State leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi during an operation by Turkish intelligence in Syria has been announced by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday.
Erdogan stated that the intelligence organisation had been pursuing Qurashi for a long time. The raid reportedly took place in the northern Syrian town of Jandaris, which is controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups and was severely affected by an earthquake in February 2023. The Syrian National Army, an opposition faction with a security presence in the area, did not provide an immediate comment.
According to a resident in Jandaris, clashes broke out on the edge of the town overnight on Saturday, lasting for about an hour before a large explosion was heard. Security forces later surrounded the area to prevent anyone from approaching it.
IS appointed al-Qurashi as its leader in November 2022, following the death of the previous leader during an operation in southern Syria. In 2014, the group took control of vast areas in Iraq and Syria, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring an Islamic caliphate across the territory.
However, campaigns by US-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, as well as Syrian forces supported by Iran, Russia, and other paramilitaries, led to the group losing control of the territory.
Despite this, thousands of remaining IS militants have mostly hidden in remote areas of both countries, and they are still capable of carrying out significant hit-and-run attacks.
The US-led coalition, along with a Kurdish-led alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), continues to carry out raids against IS officials in Syria. In some cases, senior IS figures have been targeted while hiding in areas where Turkey has significant influence.