DAccording to its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish security forces have arrested a senior leader of the jihadist militia "Islamic State" (IS). On the return flight from a three-day trip to the Balkans, Erdogan told journalists on the plane that the Islamist leader was known by his pseudonym Abu Seid.
His real name is Bashar Chattab Gasa al-Sumaidai. A July UN report called the man "one of the terrorist organization's most important leaders." Turkish media reported that there were indications that Sumaidai might even have acted as the top IS boss.
Joint use of secret service and police
Erdogan said the man's connections in Syria and Istanbul had long been monitored. The secret services have now received information that he would "illegally enter Turkey". He was arrested during an operation by the Turkish secret service and the Istanbul police. The President left open when this happened.
In 2014, the IS militia proclaimed a “caliphate” in large parts of Iraq and Syria. Backed by a US-led coalition, Kurdish forces drove the Islamists out of Syria in 2019, but the militia is still active.