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Erdogan worked “hand in glove” with ISIS in Syria, claims former emir

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Written by Nafeez Ahmed; Originally appeared at Insurge Intelligence

In an explosive interview, a former ISIS commander has claimed that the terror group cooperated directly with Turkish state intelligence agencies for years on areas of “common interest”.

The source said that senior Turkish government officials had numerous meetings with ISIS representatives to coordinate activities and that this also involved providing support and safe harbour to foreign fighters in the country. President Erdogan “was working hand in glove with ISIS” according to the US government counter-terrorism consultants who interviewed the ex-ISIS official.

The relationship raises questions about Turkey’s role as a NATO ally in the Syria conflict.

The source, who served as an ISIS emir for three years, Abu Mansour al Maghrebi, was interviewed by Professor Anne Speckhard, director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and a long-time US government counter-terrorism consultant for NATO, the CIA, FBI, State Department and Pentagon, as well as by Dr Ardian Shajkovci, the ICSVE’s director of research.

Erdogan worked “hand in glove” with ISIS in Syria, claims former emir

Abu Mansour al Maghrebi. IPhoto | CSVE

Although not all of al-Maghrebi’s claims can be verified, most of them are corroborated by the claims of other whistleblowers and former ISIS personnel as previously reported by INSURGE.

Speckhard and Shakovci described Abu Mansour as a sort of ISIS diplomat to Turkey based in Raqqa, Syria.

“My issue[duties] was our [Islamic State’s] relationship with Turkish intelligence. Actually, this started when I was working at the borders,” he explained.

Originally from Morocco, Abu Mansour was an electrical engineer who went to Syria in 2013 to join ISIS. His first job with the terror group involved handling foreign fighters coming to join ISIS via Turkey. This involved liaising with a network of ISIS-paid operatives inside Turkey who would direct fighters from Istanbul to the Turkish border towns of Gaziantep, Antakya, Sanliurfa, and so on.

“Most of them were paid by Dawlah[ISIS],” Abu Mansour said, but said that those working in Turkey were usually motivated by money rather than ideology. But he acknowledged: “Many in Turkey believe and give their bayat [oath of allegiance] to Dawlah. There are ISIS guys living in Turkey, individuals and groups, but no armed groups inside Turkey.”

Abu Mansour later travelled to Raqqa in 2015 where he facilitated Turkish medical treatment of ISIS fighters after high-level meetings with Turkish state intelligence. Abu Mansour claimed to have received his orders straight from Mohamed Hodoud, a representative of ISIS’ Majlis al Shura, and also to have briefly met the terror group’s elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He told his interviewers:

“There were some agreements and understandings between the Turkish intelligence and ISIS emni about the border gates, for the people who got injured. I had direct meeting with the MIT [the Turkish National Intelligence Organization], many meetings with them.”

He added that these regular meetings occurred between a range of agencies, including Turkish intelligence and the Turkish military:

“There were teams. Some represent the Turkish intel, some represent the Turkish Army. There were teams from 3–5 different groups. Most meetings were in Turkey in military posts or their offices. It depended on the issue. Sometimes we meet each week. It depends on what was going on. Most of the meetings were close to the borders, some in Ankara, some in Gaziantep.”

Abu Mansour described having complete impunity to travel between Syria and Turkey, leading Speckhard to describe him as in effect an ISIS ‘Ambassador’. “I passed the borders and they let me pass”, he said. “[At the border], the Turks always sent me a car and I’m protected. A team of two to three people from our side were with me. I was in charge of our team most of the time.”

Although Abu Mansour denied being a “big guy”, he admitted that his reach on behalf of ISIS potentially extended to President Erdogan himself:

“I was about to meet him but I did not. One of his intelligence officers said Erdogan wants to see you privately but it didn’t happen.”

The interview with Abu Mansour was published on March 18th2019 in Homeland Security Today, the magazine of the Government & Technology Services Coalition (GTSC) — a trade association of CEOs including former US government officials which work in the US national security sector.

A strategic partnership

Abu Mansour argued that his role was to coordinate a relationship between ISIS and Turkey where “both sides benefit.” Abu Mansour said that Turkey saw ISIS as a strategic tool to expand Turkey’s influence in northern Syria as the centre for a renewed empire:

“We are in the border area and Turkey wants to control its borders — to control Northern Syria. Actually they had ambitions not only for controlling the Kurds. They wanted all the north, from Kessab (the most northern point of Syria) to Mosul… This is the Islamists’ ideology of Erdogan. They wanted all of the north of Syria. That is what the Turkish side said [they wanted], to control the north of Syria, because they have their real ambitions. Actually, we talked about what Erdogan said in public [versus what he really desired.] This part of Syria is part of the Ottoman states. Before the agreement following the Second World War, Aleppo and Mosul were part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The agreement Sykes Picot [in which they lost these regions] was signed for one hundred years. In our meetings, we talked about reestablishing the Ottoman Empire. This was the vision of Turkey.”

Abu Mansour added that although this vision was routinely attributed to Erdogan was not necessarily shared across the Turkish government:

“I cannot say that this is the vision of the whole Turkish government. Many are against interfering to bring this project to reality. They say we will try to defeat the PKK and Kurds. We are afraid of the union between Kurds and that they may make a Kurdish state, but they also expanded to Aleppo… Since they are a NATO state they cannot make NATO angry against them. So, they cannot deal directly with the situation, but they want to destroy the Kurdish ummah, so they deal with the situation [via ISIS] and get benefits from the Islamic State.”

ISIS saw the covert alliance with Turkey as a “big benefit”, as “they could protect our back. Approximately 300 km of our border is with them. Turkey is considered a road for us for medications, food — so many things enter in the name of aid. The gates were open.”

Turkey’s open gate with ISIS

ISIS fighters routinely obtained medical treatment in Turkish hospitals across the border. The Turkish government also supplied water to the terror group and allowed it to sell tens of millions of dollars of oil via Turkey.

“We negotiated to send our fighters to the hospitals [in Turkey]”, said Abu Mansour. “There was facilitation — they didn’t look at the passports of those coming for treatment. It was always an open gate. If we had an ambulance we could cross without question. We could cross [into Turkey] at many places. They don’t ask about official identities. We just have to let them know.”

Turkish state intelligence was intimately involved in this process, he claimed:

“The MIT was made aware of every critical situation and they sent the ambulances to the border. There were also hospitals close to the border. Those who received critical care were treated there and they [the MIT] sent the others all over Turkey depending on their needs. There were very interested doctors, Syrian and Turkish, who wanted to help. So, if there were not facilities to serve them on the border, they would be sent further into Turkey for this.”

Medical bills were largely paid for by ISIS, but “some Turkish public hospitals took these fighters for free. It was not only for our fighters but also for the victims of bombings. I don’t know how many were treated in Turkey, but it was routine… I just know this agreement to open the gates for our wounded and that there were ambulances sent for them. It was a ‘state- to- state’ agreement regarding our wounded. I negotiated these agreements. For the wounded, medical and other supplies to pass, and I negotiated about water also, the Euphrates.”

Water supplied by Turkey allowed ISIS to farm and even generate electricity from dams:

“Actually we [Syria] had an agreement with Turkey for 400 cubic meters per second [of water] into Syria. After the revolution, they started to decrease the quantity of water to 150 cubic meters per second. After our negotiations [in 2014] it returned to 400. We needed it for electrical power and as a vital source of living.”

ISIS water agreement with Turkey “took a long time to negotiate,” according to Abu Mansour. In return ISIS gave the Turkish government guarantees that the country would be “safe and stable” from ISIS attack. “In negotiations I could not say I would attack Turkey. This is the language of gangs, but I would say we will try to keep Turkey from the field battle, we will not see Turkey as an enemy. They understood what we are talking about. We said many times, ‘You are not our enemy and not our friend.’”

Abu Mansour further claimed Turkey was the primary conduit for ISIS oil sales: “Most of the Syrian oil was going to Turkey, and just small amounts went to the Bashar regime…. This happened spontaneously. There are many traders to do that and Turkey was the only market in which to send oil. Their traders paid for the oil that went into Turkey.”

Most of these deals occurred via Turkish middleman who were sanctioned by the authorities:

“Oil that went to the Syrian government — some went by pipes, some by trucks. Oil sent by Dawlah [ISIS] to Turkey was arranged by traders from Turkey who came to take the oil with our permissions. Traders came from the Syrian side also.”

Oil sales via Turkey, Abu Mansour confirmed, were instrumental in bankrolling ISIS’ military onslaught. “In Syria the oil was enough to pay for the weapons and everything needed,” he said. “[Our oil revenues] were more than 14 million dollars per month and half of this oil money is more than enough to pay for everything needed for our weapons expenditures.”

These claims lend credence to an earlier INSURGE investigation into ISIS oil sales which raised questsions not just about Turkish state complicity, but also that of a number of Iraqi Kurdish and Western companies.

However, Abu Mansour denied that ISIS received weapons or funding directly from Turkey. Instead he claimed that weapons were routinely obtained by ISIS from sources inside armed opposition groups: “Anti-government Syrian people provided us with weapons; many mafias and groups traded weapons to us.”

A familiar story

Abu Mansour’s claims about Turkish military intelligence’s direct support for ISIS have been corroborated by other sources. In 2016, I interviewed Ahmet Sait Yayla, Chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Operations Division of Turkish National Police between 2010 and 2012, who went on to become Chief of the Public Order and Crime Prevention Division until 2014.

Yayla told me in extensive detail how he had witnessed first-hand that his own police counter-terrorism operations were scuppered due to Turkish intelligence liaisons which protected ISIS fighters, routinely granted them free passage in and out of Turkey, and provided them medical treatment in Turkish hospitals.

He had however gone much further in describing how he had seen evidence of direct Turkish military and financial sponsorship for some ISIS operations. Yayla’s detailed testimony suggests that Abu Mansour’s role as chief negotiator with Turkish intelligence did not cover certain key strategic issues such as direct military and financial support, which would explain why Abu Mansour was not aware of it.

My story on Yayla was banned in a Turkish court order last year sent to US tech and social media companies.

INSURGE has previously reported other emerging evidence from Western intelligence sources indicating Turkish state complicity in the expansion of ISIS across Syria.

The new revelations reinforce questions about why Western governments have ignored the evidence of state-sponsorship of ISIS — within NATO no less — despite international laws requiring firm action against entities found to be supporting terrorism.

The double game

In 2014, Abu Mansour alleges that Turkey was allowing foreign fighters into Syria while pretending to take measures against them:

“Turkey wanted to make it easy for foreign fighters to cross the borders… They just want to control, they need to be known, and how they enter, so they ask me to tell who has entered and where. Actually, the Turkish side said, ‘You should reduce, change the way you do it, the way you cross. For example, don’t come with a group to enter because it’s clear that a bunch of people entered. Enter only specific gates. Come without any weapons. Don’t come with long beards. Your entry from north to south should be hidden as much as possible.’”

Once again, Turkish intelligence was directly involved: “[In 2014,] they opened some legal gates under the eye of Turkish intel that our people went in and out through. But, entry into Syria was easier than return to Turkey. Turkey controlled the movements.”

ISIS terrorist attacks in Turkey orchestrated by Turkish MIT agents?

Perhaps Abu Mansour’s most controversial claim is that ISIS attacks inside Turkey — on Istanbul airport, at the Reina nightclub and on the streets in Ankara and Istanbul — were not in ISIS’ own interests, but were likely carried out under the orders of Turkish intelligence officers who had infiltrated ISIS:

“The ISIS external emni ordered it. And I think that there were Turkish MIT guys inside the external emni. I suspected that the striking at the airport was not for the benefit of IS, but Turkish groups of IS who wanted to strike Turkey, or they were affected by other agencies that don’t want a relationship between Dawlah and Turkey. It makes no sense, otherwise, because most of our people came through that airport.”

His explanation for this is that the orders for the attack did not come from ISIS leadership proper, but from Turkish MIT officers:

“These orders for these attacks in Turkey were from those MIT guys inside Dawlah but not from our political side. They didn’t want to destroy Erdogan, just change his road in the matter of the Syrian issue. They wanted him to use his army to attack Syria, and to attack Dawlah. The airport attack makes a good excuse for him to come into Syria.”

To be sure, there is no way to independently verify Abu Mansour’s extraordinary allegations against Turkish state intelligence, but they are partly corroborated by the claims of another former ISIS operative, Savas Yildas, who was captured by the YPG during the ISIS attack on the Kurdish province of Gire Spi (Tel Abyad) in Syria. Abu Mansour added that during his imprisonment in Kurdish YPG prisons, he had heard “that the Turkish government, after they were in Raqqa, took 40 persons out that were part of Turkish security agencies.”

The new revelations contradict years of a conventional narrative which has portrayed ISIS as a spontaneous movement erupting without significant state support.

Turkey is hardly the only state which Western intelligence agencies knew were financing ISIS — others include Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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The only hand in glove is the feeble attempt to stick a gloved hand up the anal rim of the new Leader of the Axis, aka Turkey.

When isis first rose, all Muslims were making an assessment whether this was the real Islamic Khilafah or not.

So yes, any nonMuslim who tries to use Turkeys honest attempts to engage with isis in its initial stages is just a pervert trying to stick their hand up someone elses ass.


And now, Erdogan works hand in glove with Putin. ;) Sorry, i could not resist, this was too obvious. :)
Erdogan still gets his north Syria, “buffer zone” = annexing for his empire, and can still play the protector and godfather of Idlib.
Where is the difference? Ah, the joint patrols. Okay. That solves everything…

Sorry, after all these years, and after last year where finally a good road for Syrias future seemed possible, this is just fucked up and frustrating.



You have to look at the big picture, the US worked with the Soviets during WWII, even though they despised them.

This time round it’s the USA that is the enemy of mankind, and many not friends will work together to destroy the common evil.

Gregory Casey

In hopes that what you say proves correct Sinbad!!

Pave Way IV



Well of course, the US flew their terrorists into Incirlik from CIA training camps and Turkey kitted them out and transported them to Syria.

This is common knowledge, blaming Erdogan for obeying orders from Washington is a bit lame.
Look at what the US has done to Turkey since they stopped obeying American orders.
Also it’s not a new thing Saddam was also a golden boy of the Americans for a while. In fact every western nation follows the orders of America, to not do so means your country gets destroyed.

Tommy Jensen

“why Western governments have ignored the evidence of state-sponsorship of ISIS inside Nato ”.

Because they were part of a team where CIA/M16 were the leader. But on the other hand they firmly refused to let the patsy into the good company in Europe.
So Western governments actually did something to isolate the case to some extent.

Gregory Casey

Most western Governments did Fugg all to isolate ISIS. The vast majority were happy to live believing in the delusion constructed by CIA / Mossad / MI6 / French Intel with the Turks, Saudis, Emirati, Chechens and their merry Band of Brothers.


Tell us something we didn’t already know.
comment image

Real Anti-Racist Action

Their is something odd about that photograph…
#1 You have the Turkish troops in the front. #2 Then you have the city ruins or building ruins. #3 Then in the distance behind those ruins you have people on the hill.
QUESTION. How are the people on the hill such giants compared to the building/city ruins which lay in-between the ISIS-hill and the Turkish troops?
They stand taller then any of the building pillars.


I can’t verify the picture, it could be photoshopped but we already have verifiable proof: Russia released video evidence of ISIS oil trucks carrying oil to Turkish ports:


The point is Turkey’s cooperation with ISIS is well known


This is very well known by Russia. However, the main interest of Russia with Turkey is the business they have already in course. I just wonder whether Russia has already learned from USA how to play doble moral in the middle east.

Gregory Casey

Shipped out of Turkish Ports down the coast to Israel where it was gratefully accepted by biBi. No doubt there were a few shekels passing between ISIS and Jerusalem to ensure the greasy palms stayed clasped in sync with each other.


I wish you didn’t remove the picture. If you can, please return it and write a disclaimer.

It was a testimony of the efforts PKK is taking to shift the blame.

There was also numerous reports and video about Kurdish forces and ISIS friendly relationship, apparently they went eachother’s camp for a nice cup of evening tea!


I don’t want to post something I can’t verify, regardless you can find the picture if you search for “Turkish army ISIS” on google images. I disagree with you regarding blaming Turkey-ISIS relationship on a PKK conspiracy. Turkey and ISIS cooperation was exposed by Russia with documented video evidence (Video posted in my previous comment). Remember the same Erdogan who is now pretending to align with Russia was the same Erdogan who literally celebrated on live television after Turkish military shot down a Russian jet on behalf of the Zionist US.


That’s why I suggested to add a disclaimer under the pic.

The rest I agree, as I wrote in my other comment on this very page. The “blame shifting” stands though, they are projecting. There’s no shortage of documents on collaboration between ISIS and Turkey, but it’s telling when PKK propaganda outlets resort to this childish photo manipulations, while there are documented recruit of ISIS into SDF ranks or real videos of Kurdish forces inviting ISIS member for tea and dinner and call them “brother”, like this one:


Oh, I must add, from the Kurdish script on the pic you’ve posted, it was most likely done by an Iraqi Kurd or less likely an Iranian one, definitely from neither Syria nor Turkey.

Real Anti-Racist Action

Its like saying “Russia worked hand in glove to support global Marxist to invade Spain with tanks and planes”
well of course they did. Cause it served their interest to do so.
Like when Russia supported the Kurdish invasion of Iran and they conquered norther Iran and made two phony republics. Then finally when Iran lodged the words first official complaint at the UN, then Russian support retreated away from supporting the Kurdish conquest of Iran.
Turkey and the UK and Russia and USA are all guilty of doing the same exact things over the last 100 years on many occasions.
None of it was right of them, but they all did it anyway and till this day none of them have apologized or paid reparations for it.


comment image


comment image


Who Supports ISIS ? Who is the real terrorist ?



The Kurds want their independence from Turkey (20 million living in Turkey).
The Turks hate the Kurds… but somebody else has to do the dirty job (Hense ISIS — Daesh is created).
Turkey provided Daesh with NATO weapons, military equipment and chemical weapons such as sarin.
Turkey Supported Daesh Financially Through Purchase Of Stolen Oil and assists Daesh recruitment.
Turkey Offered Medical Care To Daesh, Daesh militants go to Turkey frequently to rest and take a break from fighting.
Turkey Provided Transport And Logistical Assistance To Daesh.
Turkish special forces have fought alongside Daesh and helped Daesh In the battle for Kobani.
Turkey And Daesh Share A Worldview.
Erdogan’s bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere are made of Kurdish and Yazidi blood, stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil and the money made by human traffickers smuggling illegal immigrants to the EU through the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise these dirty Turkish tricks … they are the ones that committed genocide against the Armenians, the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Bulgarians and against the Kurds in the past :

Armenian Genocide.

The Greek genocide, including the Pontic genocide.

Bulgarian genocide – Batak massacre.

Assyrian genocide.

Kurdish – Anfal genocide.

Gregory Casey

A perfect synopsis missing only the information that Turkey acted as a “front” for US-UK-France-Israel and that Israel was the primary recipient of ISIS Oil shipped out of Turkey.


I wouldn’t trust the confessions of these ISIS operatives that come from the US sources. As a matter of verification, I don’t find it logical to verify the claims extracted by American interrogators with another confessions, also extracted by American interrogators (YPG, SDF, whatever, they do as they are told by the Americans). Not when the US government wants to pressure Turkey into submission.
If any, I’d like to hear them from the Syrian side.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no denying that there was cooperation and support from Turkey. ISIS sold stolen oil, machinery, valuables, artifacts and anything they got their hands on to Turkey. For oil, I read numerous reports that the oil was sold to an Israeli middleman and the destination of most of oil and historical artifacts was Israel. The machinery and industrial equipment went to Turkey.

I can also remember the power ISIS had did not start to decrease until the situation turned due to the coup in Turkey and blockade of Qatar. At that point the support and logistics must’ve stopped or greatly reduced over the Turkish side of the border, so the efforts of the Syrians and allies came to fruition.

Almost everything this Abu Mansour says also is true about Israel. They even built a hospital for them over the border. I don’t know if the Jordanian government was directly involved with ISIS too, but given the US presence in Jordan and their aids to AQ (there’s no such thing as FSA), it’s not far-fetched if they did the same for ISIS.
Iraq had it’s hands full with ISIS and so did Lebanon. Not bad for a terror group to receive support from 3 out of 5 neighbours of Syria, not to mention the other countries like US and UK, Saudi Arabia, Emirates, etc.. Not bad at all.


This is very well known for everybody in the World, nothing new my friend. Turkey (a NATO member) is doing just was was planned in NATO organizacion, despite the whole theater Turkey has been doing so far. My guess is that the whole idea was to control Russia in Syria (through commercial agreements), and this is what has happened indeed.


It can be argued that NATO is in disarray, and not in control of the situation.
Not good for them to see Turkey drift away.


Nothing we didn’t already know. Erdogan is a foul untrustworthy sack of shit (no insult to shit intended). Always has been, always will be. If Turkey wasn’t in NATO his sorry untrustworthy ass would already have been ‘regime changed’ out of existance. Now everybody is being forced to continue to deal with him. I feel most sorry for the Turkish people, as they have to deal with this rat (no insult to rats intended), but then again, even with all his election meddling a great deal of them continue to vote for him and think he’s the bee’s knee’s..


Erdogan worked “hand in glove” with ISIS in Syria AND Putin works

“hand in glove”with Erdogan giving him Idlib in return for the buying of a few S400.


Syria and Russia are killing Turkey’s pet terrorists on an almost daily basis, it’s what brought the Turks to the negotiating table.


A pro-Assad Syrian MP, Fares Shehabi, told BBC Reality Check that there
were as many as 100,000 “al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists” in Idlib, of
whom 40,000 were what he called “hardcore radicals”.

How many years to get rid of the terrorists as long as Erdogan doesn’t refill with ” moderate terrorists” ?


It depends on how cooperative the Turks are in implementing the DMZ agreement. They know that if they don’t deliver, that plan b is a resumption of clearing operations.


Sotchi agreement was signed in september, to be implemented in october. We are in april and the situation is worse than in september but Putin is so excited with the selling of S400, nuclear power plants, South Stream and maybe S57 iso the F35 that Erdogan is in control in Idlib and later on most probably in a safe zone of 20 miles in northern Syria. I think Erdogan is pulling Putin’s leg.


That’s one way to look at it. It’s a is the glass half empty or half full situation. The other way to look at it is that most of these deconfliction agreements were violated before being fully implemented one way or the other. And that’s probably what’s going to happen here.

Xoli Xoli

We know Turkey wants to destroy Syrian army to have oil and gas control.Why is terrorists in Idlib not attacking Turkey positions.Any how all this muslims and arabs oppress women.Rape and kill women take them against their will.Killing women is passion.

Xoli Xoli

USA must attack Idlib then S-400 deal will collapse.


He could say the same things about the CIA, but of course he won’t.

Gregory Casey

Why is this regarded as “explosive”? For anyone watching and listening to what has happened in Syria throughout the past 8 years, it is quite clear that ISIS and Turkey maintained full co-operation with each other until post-Erdogan’s escape from arrest and death in the mini-coup attempt of 2016. Erdogan escaped that coup because the Russians warned him of what was happening while he was away enjoying himself on the coast but Erdogan’s co-operation with ISIS was not simply Turkey acting on behalf of itself: Turkey was a part of the US-UK-France-Saudi-Israeli-Qatari-Emirati attack on Syria’s multi-religious, multi-ethnic Democracy until Erdogan’s ass was saved by Putin. As part of the criminal coalition, Turkey acted as the distribution center for the oil stolen by ISIS from the Syrian People enabling its refining and its export to, amongst other places, Israel. Anyone who feigns surprise at this story was asleep throughout the Syrian War or, more likely, suffering from delusions.

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