ANKARA: Turkish forces in northern Syria have detained a sister of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group who was killed in a US raid, a senior Turkish official said Tuesday.
“Turkey has captured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sister” in a raid near the town of Azaz, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says a Western media report.
He named the woman as Rasmiya Awad, and said she was born in 1954.
The woman was accompanied by her husband, her daughter-in-law and five children. “The three adults are being interrogated at this time”, the official said.
He added that the arrest could be “an intelligence gold mine. “What she knows about ISIS can significantly expand our understanding of the group”, help us catch more members and “help Turkey to better protect itself and the rest of Europe from terrorists”, he said, using another acronym for IS.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the arrests.
“Turkish forces arrested the sister of Baghdadi last night in a camp in the suburbs of the city of Azaz”, said the head of the organisation, Rami Abdel Rahman.
“They arrested her, her husband, her daughter-in law, and her five grandchildren.”
He said they also detained four other Iraqis, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to IS or not.
The town of Azaz is located in a region of northwestern Syria that has been under Turkish control since an offensive it staged in 2016.