Istanbul [Turkey], May 2: A commander of the extremist militia organization Islamic State blew himself up as Turkish forces were trying to catch him in northern Syria, a monitoring group and activists said Monday.
"The Islamic State commander, whom I cannot confirm was the leader of the group, blew up his explosive belt as he felt he was going to be caught in Janderes, in the Afrin region," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told DPA. On Sunday, Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan said Turkey had "neutralized" the suspected leader of Islamic State in Syria. According to the Turkish state news agency Anadolu, Erdogan told Turkish broadcaster TRT Turk that the man, named Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi, was "neutralized" in an operation carried out by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) on Saturday. This means he was probably killed or captured. The war monitor, which has been registering violence inside Syria since 2011, said some leaders of the first ranks of Islamic State are present in the areas of influence of the Turkish-backed factions and hide within the factions, taking advantage of the security chaos there.
"We cannot confirm, just as Turkey cannot confirm the identity of the dead man," Farhad al-Shami, spokesman of the Democratic Forces (SDF), fighting alongside the US-led coalition against the presence of ISIS in Syria, told DPA.
US forces were deployed to Syria in 2015 to assist the Syrian Kurds and their allies in the fight against Islamic State.
Source: Qatar Tribune