Turkey captured the sister of dead Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz and is interrogating her husband and daughter-in-law, who were also detained, Reuters reported, citing a senior Turkish official.
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 ISIL,” the official said.
Little independent information is available on Baghdadi’s sister, and Reuters was not immediately able to verify if the captured individual was her.
Baghdadi killed himself last month when cornered in a tunnel during a raid by US special forces in northwestern Syria. ISIL, in an audiotape posted online on Thursday, confirmed that its leader had died and vowed revenge against the United States.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s communications director said the woman’s capture was evidence of Turkey’s determination to fight against ISIL.
“The arrest of al-Baghdadi’s sister is yet another example of the success of our counter-terrorism operations,” Fahrettin Altun wrote on Twitter early on Tuesday.
“Much dark propaganda against Turkey has been circulating to raise doubts about our resolve against Daesh,” he wrote, using another name for ISIL.
“Our strong counter-terrorism cooperation with like-minded partners can never be questioned.”