Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi, was killed in an operation by the Turkish intelligence agency, MIT, in northern Syria. The operation took place in Jindires, in the northwest region of Afrin, where an abandoned farm was being used as an Islamic school.
The region where the raid took place was controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups and was one of the worst-affected areas in the February 2023 earthquake. Al-Qurayshi was hiding in a building on the farm when he blew himself up, following a lengthy pursuit by the Turkish intelligence agency. The Islamic State group has not confirmed the death of its leader yet. The remaining fighters of ISIS are hiding in remote areas of Syria and Iraq and still launch attacks occasionally.
In Syria’s border regions, Turkey has carried out a number of operations against ISIS fighters and Kurdish insurgents. After repeated ground invasions to force Kurdish organisations away from the border, Turkey now controls huge swathes of northern Syria.
ISIS has carried out a number of horrific assaults in Turkey, including a shooting that left 39 people dead on January 1, 2017, when people were celebrating the New Year in an Istanbul nightclub.
After the previous leader of ISIS was assassinated in October, Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi assumed leadership. He came into power at a time when IS had long since lost control of the areas it once controlled in Syria and Iraq. Sleeper cells in both nations have been carrying out deadly strikes as IS strives to resurge.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, was apprehended by American soldiers in a raid in northwest Syria in October 2019. In a similar operation in February 2022, his successor Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was assassinated.
It is thought that none of the al-Qurayshis are related. Although Quraish, the name of the tribe to which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, belonged, is their real name, al-Qurayshi is not. “al-Qurayshi” is a portion of an ISIS leader’s nom de guerre, and the group claims that its commanders are from this tribe.