The suspected leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) was “neutralised” on Saturday by Turkish forces in Syria, announced Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on Sunday. Erdoğan’s claim was not confirmed by the jihadist group.
Erdoğan alleged that Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi took over ISIS in November after predecessor Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi was killed in October by the Free Syrian Army rebel coalition.
During the interview with Turkey’s state run TRT, Erdoğan said that the country’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) had been following the alleged ISIS leader.
“The suspected leader of Daesh (ISIS), code name Abu Hussein al-Qurashi, has been neutralised in an operation carried out yesterday by the MİT in Syria,” said Erdoğan.
Turkish officials used the term “neutralised” for individuals surrendered, killed or captured during security force operations.
The Turkish president added that Turkey would continue its struggle against terrorism without discriminating between terrorist organisations.
Erdoğan also complained that the international media was not covering Turkey’s operations against ISIS as widely as similar US operations.
“When the United States or others neutralise people leading Daesh or the heads of terrorist organisations here and there, they set the world on fire. You see, at the moment we have neutralised not only one or two or three, numerous ones related to Daesh,” said the president.
Turkey’s claims on the death of the suspected ISIS leader come after 39 suspects tied to the jihadist group were targeted in a police operation launched last week across 13 provinces in Turkey.