ISIS Leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi 'Neutralised' In Turkish Intel Raid, Erdoğan Announces

ISIS Leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi 'Neutralised' In Turkish Intel Raid, Erdoğan Announces
Turkish president Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that a Turkish intelligence operation in Jinderes, Syria, has neutralised the leader of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh) terror group Abu Hussein al-Qurashi. Jinderes is a town in the Afrin district of Aleppo governorate in northwestern Syria.

President Erdoğan said the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT) undertook an operation that resulted in the killing of the ISIS leader. Turkish forces carried out this mission during operations in Syria.

“The suspected leader of Daesh, codenamed Abu Hussein al-Qurashi, was neutralised in an operation carried out yesterday (Saturday) by MIT in Syria,” Erdoğan said in an interview with Turkish media on Sunday.

Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS, and is used pejoratively to deride the ultra-extremist terror group and its followers.

“The National Intelligence Organization had been following the so-called leader of Daesh, Abu Hussein al-Quraishi, for a long time... We will continue our struggle against the terrorist organizations, without making any distinction between them,” Erdoğan added.

Independent sources are studying this announcement, and governments as well as security agencies have yet to comment on this development. The terror group has also not made any announcement regarding its leader.

An AFP correspondent in northern Syria said that on Saturday, Turkish intelligence agents, and local military police backed by Turkey, had sealed off a zone in Jindires, in the northwest region of Afrin in Syria.

Residents told AFP that an operation had targeted an abandoned farm that was being used as an Islamic school.

Turkey has deployed troops in northern Syria since 2020, and controls entire zones with the help of pro-Turkey Syrian auxiliaries.

Who is ISIS leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi

Abu Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi (also spelled al-Qurayshi or al-Quraishi) is the fourth central leader or “caliph” of ISIS. He became the Daesh leader on November 30, 2022, when his predecessor Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi (no relation to Abu Hussein al-Qurashi) was killed.

His position as the leader of ISIS was announced by the group’s spokesman, Abu Omar Al-Muhajir, in an audio recording which stated that the previous leader "died in battle".

The United States military’s CENTCOM said Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi had been killed in mid-October 2022. Syrian fighters involved in the clash said that Abu Hasan al-Qurashi had blown himself up after he and his aides were surrounded by local fighters in the town of Jasem, in Daraa governorate in southern Syria.

His successor Abu Hussein al-Qurashi has been described as a veteran of the ISIS terror group, and a staunch adherent of the group's radical ideology. In January 2023, it was reported that a leading anti-ISIS dissident group had alleged that Abu Hussein was Iraqi like his predecessors, and was appointed by a shura council led by Abdul Raouf al-Muhajir.

The Daesh threat

When it was at the height of its power, controlling swathes of Iraq and Syria, the ISIS group (Daesh) claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Europe.

In October 2019, Washington announced it had killed IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria. In February 2022, his successor Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi was killed, and then the third leader Abu al-Hasan al-Qurashi was killed in November that hear.

Despite having been driven out of much of the territory it once controlled, the Islamic State group still launches attacks in Iraq and Syria. Affiliates and franchises of the terror group operate around the world, including in terror hotpots such as Afghanistan, West Africa, and the Far East.

Moreover, the group's clandestine cells and networks of sympathizers continue to promote the extremist ideology that Daesh professes, with the threat prevalent in many Muslim as well as Western societies.