The suspected leader of the Islamic State group has been killed in Syria in an operation carried out by Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.
“The suspected leader of Daesh, codename Abu Hussein al-Qurashi, has been neutralised in an operation carried out yesterday (Saturday) by the MIT in Syria,” he announced on television, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State organisation.
The Islamic State group announced the death of its previous leader, Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, on November 30, replacing him with Abu Hussein al-Qurashi.
An AFP correspondent in northern Syria said Turkish intelligence agents and local military police, backed by Turkey, had on Saturday sealed off a zone in Jindires, in the northwest region of Afrin.
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 Syrian auxiliaries.
The United States carried out a helicopter raid in northern Syria in an operation in mid-April, saying the Islamic State group had been planning attacks in Europe and the Middle East.
US Central Command said they had killed a senior leader of the IS group in the operation. They named him as Abd-al Hadi Mahmud al-Haji Ali.
Suspected Islamic State group fighters killed at least 41 people, 24 of them civilians, on April 16 in Syria.
In the first week of April, the US forces said they had killed an IS group leader responsible for planning attacks in Europe, naming him as Khalid Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri.
When it was at the height of its power, controlling swathes of Iraq and Syria, the IS group 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.
Despite having been driven out of much of the territory it once controlled, the Islamic State group still launches attacks in Syria.