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Turkey arrests key ISIL figure captured in MİT operation in Syria

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A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled to arrest the alleged Turkey leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who was captured in Syria in an operation carried out by Turkish intelligence last week.

Kasım Güler, codenamed Ebu Usame el Türki, who is accused of serving as the Turkey leader of ISIL, was brought by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to Turkey for interrogation on June 15. The MİT operation came a day after a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Joe Biden, on June 14, during the NATO summit in Brussels.

Güler appeared before an Ankara court on Tuesday after spending a week in police custody. He was jailed on charges of establishing and running a terrorist organization, keeping explosives and violating Law No. 6139, which concerns illegally bringing firearms into the country.

MİT launched the operation upon receiving information that Güler was planning to carry out an attack in Turkey after illegally crossing the border with Syria, the report said.

Reportedly the first ISIL member caught on an INTERPOL Red Notice, Güler was said to be carrying ISIL documents and secret information with him when apprehended.

Güler had been to Afghanistan and Pakistan between 2008 and 2010 before joining ISIL in 2014 and rising through the ranks to the position of financial executive for Russia, Europe and Turkey, according to Turkish media reports.

A report by the US Department of Defense had said Turkey is still a transit country for logistics, finance and weapons for ISIL despite the country’s efforts to step up the crackdown on the terrorist organization. The 136-page report, submitted to the US Congress, included the claim, based on remarks from the US European Command, that Turkey is still used as a base by ISIL, particularly for money transfers.

Turkey declared ISIL a terrorist organization in 2013 and has been attacked by the jihadist group multiple times since then. A total of 315 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb blasts and four armed attacks organized by ISIL in the country.

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