Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid last month (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Rasmiya Awad, the elder sister of the slain leader of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was captured alongside her husband and daughter-in-law in a raid on a container near Syria's Azaz. Turkey captured Awad on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, a senior Turkish official told news agencies. He hailed the arrest an intelligence "gold mine." Little is known about the sister of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Turkish official said the 65-year-old known is suspected of being affiliated with the extremist group.
"We hope to gather a trove of intelligence from Baghdadi’s sister on the inner workings of ISIS," he said.
Awad was captured in a raid on a trailer container she was living in with her family near the town of Azaz in Aleppo province. The area is part of the region administered by Turkey after it carried out a military incursion to chase away IS militants and Kurdish fighters starting 2016. Allied Syrian groups manage the area known as the Euphrates Shield zone.
The official said the sister was with her husband, daughter-in-law and five children. The adults are being interrogated, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.
Al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi from Samarra, was killed in a US raid in the nearby province of Idlib last month. The raid was a major blow to the group, which has lost territories it held in Syria and Iraq in a series of military defeats by the US-led coalition and Syrian and Iraqi allies.
Many IS members have escaped through smuggling routes to northwestern Syria in the final days of battle ahead of the group's territorial defeat earlier this year, while others have melted into the desert in Syria or Iraq. The reclusive leader al-Baghdadi was known to be close to one of his brothers, known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza.
Al-Baghdadi's aide, a Saudi, was killed hours after the raid, also in northwestern Syria, in a US strike. The group named a successor to al-Baghdadi days later, but little is known about him or how the group's structure has been affected by the successive blows.
(With PTI Inputs)