A group of former ISIS commanders have met in the occupied town of Tell Abyad in northern Raqqa under the protection of Turkish-backed militants, al-Quds al-Arabi reported on April 14.
Local sources told the London-based newspaper that ISIS is resurfacing in Tell Abyad under the protection of the al-Shamiya Front, a faction of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA). The town is reportedly filled with graffiti supporting the terrorist group.
Khalaf al-Khater, a Syrian activist, told al-Quds al-Arabi that a group of former ISIS commanders who are allegedly working with the Turkish intelligence have met in Tell Abyad.
The meeting was held in the house of Ismail al-Ido, a former ISIS commander who was reportedly involved in many war crimes and criminal activities. More than 50 people attended the meeting that was held under the protection of the al-Shamiya Front’s militants.
Locals attempted to foil the meeting by blocking a road leading to al-Ido’s house. However, a Turkish military unit intervened and reopened the road by force.
“The aim of the meeting is to form a new faction working under Turkish supervision and under the umbrella of the SNA,” al-Khater said, adding “most of those invited to the meeting had ties with the organization [ISIS] in a way or another, some of whom are former security official and personnel [of the terrorist group].”
According to al-Khater, the faction could carry out “special operations,” such as assassinations, against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with support from Turkey.
Another Syrian activist, Mohamad al-Shaeir, told al-Quds al-Arabi that many of those who met in Tell Abyad, including al-Ido, are wanted for war crimes.
Al-Shaeir revealed that the meeting was attended by Khaled al-Akal, aka Abu Walid al-Raqqaui, one of the founders of ISIS’ Amaq news agency, Fadel al-Akal, brother of ISIS’ Raqqa’s governor Fayz al-Akal, and Muhanad al-Kajl, a former ISIS security commander responsible for the killing of many civilians, including journalists and activists.
Al-Quds al-Arabi’s report didn’t came as a surprise as the Turkish-backed SNA is known to be infested with former ISIS members. As for now, Ankara’s allies in the West continue to turn a blind eye to this issue.