SDF security forces recently discovered and arrested a large cell of 28 agents recruited, trained and sent by Turkish intelligence working in the Ayn Issa district where Turkish forces have been bombing and attacking. The network have been active carrying out crop burnings, bombings, gathering of targets coordination for Turkish bombing amongst other work.
Filmed video confessions of the leader of the group published in the ANHA news agency offer a fascinating insight into how Turkish intelligence operate in Kurdish areas.
Muhammad Jasim Al-Hassoun was recruited to work for Turkish military intelligence in 2017 in Turkey, where he lived with his family after fleeing the war in Syria. He said his hatred of Kurds and offers of money were the motivation for him to accept.
An elaborate cover story was created for him pretending to jail him for being an ex SDF fighter. He was sent to Mersin in Turkey, where he described how he met a large amount of ex ISIS fighters who were also working for Turkish intelligence.
Muhammad Jasim Al-Hassoun was given a code name of ‘The Young General’ by Turkish intelligence commanders and was given 86 days of training to prepare him for intelligence operations in SDF controlled areas. While at the Turkish camp he received extensive training, with other mercenaries recruited by Turkish military intelligence.
‘The Young General’ described how in the first stage of his training he was taught how to define sites and how to be able to photograph them and how to take the necessary security and avoidance measures. In the second stage he was taught how be work alone without support. He eventually joined a larger group in the 3rd stage of the training session where each of the recruited operatives were screened for their individual jobs.
He noted that all attendees were told by their Turkish intelligence handlers how the Kurds were the enemies of Arabs and Islam, and how that Turkey was the protector of Muslims. ISIS were openly spoken about as ‘our friends’ and ‘our brothers’ by the Turkish intelligence trainers at the training camp in Mersin according to Al-Hassoun in his confessions.
While at the Turkish intelligence camp in Mersin he also observed a number of children between 6-10 years old at the camp being trained by Turkish intelligence and many hardline ISIS supporters from Til Abyad.
He described how one of the Turkish intelligence trainers, a man called ‘General Ali’, an ‘Arab from Urfa’ of a Syrian mother was overseeing the recruitment of Syrians into Turkish intelligence operations and how he saw a number of leading Syrian fighters next to ‘General Ali’ including men such as Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Mustafa, nicknamed “Abu Shuja” and Mahmoud Al-Aqaba And Ahmed Al-Turki, who were among the leaders in charge of the training.
It was ‘General Ali’ who gave Al-Hassoun the name of ‘Young General’ and promised him ‘great things’ if he was successful working for Turkish intelligence.
The ‘Young General’ was given lessons in Kurdish and Turkish which he said he could not learn very well.
He was given a monthly wage of 600TL and given money to buy a phone. He was given apps to load onto his phone so as to ensure encryption and avoid detection.
He was sent to Syria in early May of 2018 where he began his intelligence operations from Til Abyad where he communicated the coordinates of military establishments and gathered information about people to Turkish military intelligence.
From time to time he was contacted by his initial contacts at the Mersin training base such as ‘General Ali’ and others.
As time passed and in late October 2019, he moved to the Ayn Issa region and began his intelligence work there with others. Here he again met with ‘General Ali’ in the Turkish occupied areas to discuss the next stages of his mission. It was here that ‘General Ali’ threatened him to not even think about betrayal while showing him a bullet in his hand. He was asked to photograph SDF positions along the M4 International highway and other points.
He was then given orders to take command and to build an intelligence network in the area and began this work with three other men operated by Turkish military intelligence, Salah Hassan Abdullah, Rashid Hassan Sharif and Hassan Muhammad Abbou.
The network expanded to include all of those 28 recently arrested by the SDF security services when they broke up Turkey’s intelligence rings in the Ayn Issa areas.
Muhammad Jasim Al-Hassoun or ‘The Young General’ described how their tasks were not limited to gathering information only but included inciting SDF fighters to flee from the frontlines, burning agriculture crops, report on damage done from shells dropped on villages and carry out bomb attacks with IEDs against SDF points.
Al-Hassound said he carried out three such bomb attacks and that when they carried out bomb attacks there were paid extra one off payments of between $200 and $400.
He said they were instructed to carry out attacks against the SDF from behind the lines and when Turkey’s mercenary forces came and occupied the area that they were to join them.
The SDF recently arrested this network of 28 Turkish intelligence operatives and ‘The Young General’ gave this fascinating confession and insight into Turkey’s intelligence led operations against the Kurds and SDF in North and East Syria.