Islamic State leader in Syria killed by Turkish intelligence services, says President Erdogan

·2-min read

The leader of Islamic State in Syria has been killed in a raid by the Turkish intelligence services, according to Turkey's president.

Abu Hussein al Qurashi was "neutralised" as part of a long-term operation by the intelligence organisation, MIT, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

Mr Erdogan's claim has not been independently verified and there has been no response from IS.

The raid is said to have taken place in the northern Syrian town of Jandaris, which is controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups.

The area was also one of the hardest hit during the earthquake which hit the border of Turkey and Syria on 6 February.

Clashes between the rebels and the opposing Syrian National Army started overnight on Saturday and into Sunday, according to one resident. They then heard a loud explosion.

The area was later enclosed by security forces. The Syrian National Army has not commented on the incident.

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IS took over large areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014, an Islamic caliphate was declared across millions who lived there by its head at the time, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

But the state lost its grip on the territory after campaigns by US and Russia-backed forces in Syria and Iraq.

Al Qurashi was elected leader in November 2022 after the death of his predecessor Abu Hasan al Hashimi al Qurashi during an operation in southern Syria.

Its remaining militants have hid in remote areas of both Syria and Iraq since, though it is thought they are still capable of carrying out major hit-and-run attacks.

Raids against IS officials in Syria are carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance between the US and the Kurdish forces.

Some senior figures have been targeted when hiding out in areas where Turkey holds major influence.