A spy for the Kurds went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s identity was confirmed before this past weekend’s raid, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Composed of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriacs and other minorities, the SDF was the ground fighting force that painstakingly chipped away at territory claimed by ISIS in Syria, culminating in taking back the caliphate’s declared capital, Raqqa, in a 2017 battle.
“For five months there has been joint intel cooperation on the ground and accurate monitoring, until we achieved a joint operation to kill Abu Bakir al-Bagdadi,” Syrian Democratic Forces General Commander Mazloum Abdi tweeted Sunday of the U.S. raid in Barisha, a town near the Turkish border in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib.
“When capture at the hands of U.S. forces was imminent, Baghdadi detonated a bomb killing himself and two young children,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie confirmed today.
The Washington Post reported that the informant who led the way to al-Baghdadi was an ISIS operative involved in the self-proclaimed caliph’s day to day security; he turned against the terror group after one of his relatives was killed. He was at the scene of the raid on the compound, was later brought out of danger along with his family, and could be eligible for the $25 million Rewards for Justice bounty on al-Baghdadi’s head.
This critical informant was a source cultivated by SDF intelligence. In a series of tweets Monday, SDF senior advisor Polat Can revealed some more details about the Kurds’ role in confirming the identity of the ISIS leader.
“Through our own sources, we managed to confirm that Al Baghdadi had moved from Al Dashisha area in Deir Al Zor to Idlib. Since 15 May, we have been working together with the CIA to track Al Baghdadi and monitor him closely,” Can wrote. “One of our sources was able to reach the house where Al Baghdadi was hiding. Al Baghdadi changed his places of residence very often. He was about to move to a new place in Jerablus.”
“Our own source, who had been able to reach Al Baghdadi, brought Al Baghdadi’s underwear to conduct a DNA test and make sure (100%) that the person in question was Al Baghdadi himself,” he added.
Can continued, “More than a month ago, the decision was made to eliminate Al Baghdadi. However, the US withdrawal and the Turkish invasion prompted us to stop our special operations, including the pursuit of Al Baghdadi. The Turkish invasion caused a delay in the operation.”
“All intelligence and access to Al Baghdadi as well as the identification of his place, were the result of our own work. Our intelligence source was involved in sending coordinates, directing the airdrop, participating in and making the operation a success until the last minute,” he said. “All armed groups and elements surrounding the village of Barisha were Daesh (ISIS) terrorists, operating under various names. In the airdrop operation, all their military posts and positions were targeted.”
“Terrorist Abu al-Hassan was on a special mission to Jerablus to secure Al Baghdadi’s transfer to his new home. There was a plan B to target Al Baghdadi in his new home if he had moved before the planned strike in Barisha. Abu al-Hassan was closely monitored by SDF intelligence.”
ISIS spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir was killed in an airstrike a day after al-Baghdadi was killed.
“Following the previous ops, a senior assistent for al- Bagdadi is called Abu Hesen al Mouhjir was targeted in a village named Ein al Baat near Jaraboul city, the mission was conducted via direct coordination of SDF Intel & US military apart the ongiong ops to hunt ISIS leaders,” Abdi tweeted Sunday.