Kurdish forces announce capture of prominent Isis leader

5 years ago

Kurdish forces in northern Syria captured a prominent Islamic State (Isis) leader during an operation in Deir ez-Zor province, east of the Euphrates, they announced at the weekend.

Osama Awaid al-Ibrahim, or Abu Zeid, is the second-in-command of Isis and was captured on Thursday after being found hiding in a tunnel with plans to blow himself up.

According to reports from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mr Zeid’s sister prevented him from killing himself, leading to his capture.

The Centre of Coordination and Military Operations (CCMO) claimed the jihadist leader was found with 80 gold ingots and 20 mobile phones along with a large stash of money.

It is believed that Mr Zeid commanded an Isis cell from a house in al-Tayyana where a huge weapons stash was also found.

He is the most high-profile Isis leader after the cleric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who ended speculation that he had been killed in an air strike by releasing an audio message on the Muslim holiday of Eid in August.

Mr Zeid is a former Syrian army officer who enlisted in the Free Syrian Army when the war broke before joining the al-Nusra Front, then Isis.

Fighting has intensified in Deir ez-Zor as the SDF has engaged in fierce combat with Isis fighters in their last remaining stronghold north of the city of Hajin.

Locals have reportedly joined the fight taking up arms to repel the jihadists in Abu Hamam, Kashkiyah and Gharanij. However Isis has regrouped and is fighting back to try to cling on to control of the region.

The SDF is backed by US air cover, with Washington accused of killing civilians in Hajin by using the banned substance white phosphorus on at least four occasions.


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