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Decimated Daesh: How feared terror group’s leaders were taken down

Daesh, a terror group formed from al-Qaeda offshoots in Iraq and Syria, has been a primary focus in global counterterrorism efforts in the last decade. In 2014, it declared a so-called “caliphate” after overrunning swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, marking the peak of its standing as a worldwide threat.

The terrorist organization carried out deadly attacks in countries across the world, killing and wounding thousands of people. These included at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed assaults in Türkiye, which claimed over 300 lives and injured hundreds more.

Daesh has since faced intense pressure from Türkiye, Iraq, US-led forces and other groups, depriving it of all of its territorial holdings and decimating its rank and file. Its perceived power has also been extensively dented by a series of successful strikes against its top figures.

Türkiye was directly involved in the last two operations against Daesh leaders, the latest being the April 29 elimination of Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi in a Turkish intelligence operation in northern Syria.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the longtime leader of Daesh who oversaw its rise to global notoriety by declaring a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

At one point under him, the terror group controlled roughly one-third of Syria and 40% of Iraq. It carried out gruesome executions and directed vicious terror attacks in cities such as London, Paris, Istanbul and New York.

Al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in Idlib in northwestern Syria on Oct. 26, 2019. According to the American military, he fled into tunnels as soldiers closed in on him, where he detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and two children.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi took over as the Daesh leader less than a week after al-Baghdadi’s death. His real name was Amir Muhammad Saeed Abdul Rahman al-Mawla. Al-Qurayshi is a nom de guerre taken by Daesh leaders.

A US State Department statement some months later said he was overseeing the terror group’s global operations after helping “drive and justify the abduction, slaughter, and trafficking of members of Ezidi religious minority groups in northwest Iraq.”

Al-Mawla was born in Mosul, Iraq in 1976 and was a religious scholar in the terror group that preceded Daesh, al-Qaeda in Iraq, before becoming the deputy leader under Baghdadi, according to the State Department.

On Feb. 3, 2022, US President Joe Biden announced al-Mawla was “taken off the battlefield” in an operation by American forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria. Al-Mawla “chose to blow himself up … taking several members of his family with him just as his predecessor did,” Biden said in a statement, referring to the manner of al-Baghdadi’s death.

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was confirmed as the new Daesh leader in March 2022, a month after his predecessor’s death.

He led the terror group for just a few months before being eliminated in October the same year. He was among 30 Daesh terrorists killed in operations by the Free Syrian Army, the Türkiye-backed military opposition group, in Daraa, southwestern Syria, on Oct. 14-15.

His death was confirmed by the US military more than a month later. Opposition sources in Syria told Anadolu later in December that al-Qurayshi’s body was exhumed from a cemetery in the town of Jasim and handed over to US forces.

Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi

After the elimination of two leaders within the span of a few months, Daesh announced its third leader of 2022 in November – a largely unknown figure who went by Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi. His time turned out to be just as short as his predecessor’s.

Abu Hussein was “neutralized” in a Turkish intelligence operation in Syria’s northern Afrin region on April 29, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan said Türkiye’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had been following the Daesh terrorist “for a long time” before eliminating him in a successful operation.

Source: yeni şafak

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