Two weeks after a United States military mission brought a cowardly end to the life of Islamic State leader and founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Turkey is reporting they have captured his sister, her husband, and her step-children. The irony in the story is she was located in A’zaz, a city that was not part of the area controlled by American allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces. It was controlled by Turkey’s allies and was the headquarters of the Syrian Interim Government.
While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pointed to the capture of Rasmiya Awad, 65, as proof that they will be harder on the Islamic State than the Kurds or the Americans, that narrative seems to be upended when we look at the location of her capture. Turkey has enjoyed free reins to carry out operations in A’zaz even before they invaded northeastern Syria following the United States withdrawal from the land near the border. Does this show they’re the answer to completely decimate the Islamic State or have they been harboring their new captive, intentionally or not?
The dynamics of the situation in the Middle East are always muddled and ever-changing, but the narrative they’re pushing doesn’t seem to jibe with the facts.
Turkey captured the sister of dead Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, a senior Turkish official told Reuters, and is interrogating her husband and daughter-in-law who were also detained.
Rasmiya Awad, 65, was detained in a raid near Azaz, the official said, referring to a Turkish-controlled Syrian town near the border. When captured, she was also accompanied by five children.
“We hope to gather a trove of intelligence from Baghdadi’s sister on the inner workings of ISIS,” the official said.
Before we shower Turkey with kudos, we should be asking why they either had not located Awad until now or have been harboring her the whole time. This is a victory against terrorism, but are the victors secretly part of the problem?
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