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ISIL procured equipment to weaponize drones through Turkish-based companies: report

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Three Turkish-based companies supplied the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with materials to assemble and weaponize drones, according to a report by the Birgün daily, citing the findings of Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK).

ISIL is known to have a drone program depending on off-the-shelf technologies and do-it-yourself modifications. The group reportedly makes intensive use of drones for reconnaissance and armed strikes.

According to the report by Bahadır Özgür of the Birgün daily, acting on information sent by Turkey’s security forces, MASAK drafted a report in 2021 on the assets of dozens of people considered by authorities to be related to ISIS.

İbrahim Hag Geneid, a Syrian, founded the companies Altun İnci Construction, Elferah Construction and Mavi Yelken Hardware, through which he sold equipment to ISIL operatives who then used the materials to assemble armed drones, the report said.

Geneid was in contact with Babar, one ISIL’s drone experts who sent shipments to Syria using Turkey’s southern Mersin port and was killed by a US strike in 2017, the report said.

The report added that the Turkish government granted Geneid citizenship in 2017.

According to the report, Altun İnci Construction, founded in 2014, shipped millions of dollars worth of equipment to Babar.

A 2020 report by the US Department of Defense inspector general 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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