Turkey says it cap­tured slain IS leader’s sis­ter in Syria

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey cap­tured the elder sis­ter of the slain leader of the Is­lamic State group in north­west­ern Syria on Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial, who called the ar­rest an in­tel­li­gence “gold mine.”

Lit­tle is known about the sis­ter of Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi. The Turk­ish of­fi­cial said the 65-year-old known as Ras­miya Awad is sus­pected of be­ing af­fil­i­ated with the ex­trem­ist group. He did not elab­o­rate.

Awad was cap­tured in a raid Mon­day

evening on a trailer con­tainer she was liv­ing in with her fam­ily near the town of Azaz in Aleppo prov­ince. The area is part of the region ad­min­is­tered by Turkey af­ter it car­ried out a mil­i­tary in­cur­sion to chase away IS mil­i­tants and Kur­dish fight­ers start­ing 2016. Al­lied Syr­ian groups man­age the area known as the Euphrates Shield zone. The of­fi­cial said the sis­ter was with her hus­band, daugh­ter-in-law and five chil­dren. The adults are be­ing in­ter­ro­gated, he said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity in line with govern­ment pro­to­col.

“This kind of thing is an in­tel­li­gence gold mine. What she knows about (IS) can sig­nif­i­cantly ex­pand our un­der­stand­ing of the group and help us catch more bad guys,” the of­fi­cial said.

Al-Bagh­dadi, an Iraqi from Sa­marra,

was killed in a U.S. raid in the nearby prov­ince of Idlib last month. The raid was a ma­jor blow to the group, which has lost ter­ri­to­ries it held in Syria and Iraq in a series of mil­i­tary de­feats by the U.S-led coali­tion and Syr­ian and Iraqi al­lies.

Many IS mem­bers have es­caped through smug­gling routes to north­west­ern Syria in the fi­nal days of bat­tle ahead of the group’s ter­ri­to­rial de­feat ear­lier this year, while oth­ers have melted into the desert in Syria or Iraq.

Ras­miya Awad

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