Late on May 20, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) announced that it has arrested Abdu al-Nasir Qurdash, a prominent commander of ISIS.
The INIS provided no information whatsoever on the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Qurdash. Nevertheless, the intelligence service claimed that he was a “candidate” to succeed ISIS’ eliminated leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi. Photos of Qurdash in captivity were shared.
جهاز المخابرات الوطني يعلن إلقاء القبض على عبد الناصر قرداش خليفة البغدادي pic.twitter.com/FlbSslHt3w
— Hamuodi | حمودي (@hr_633) May 20, 2020
The Iraqi statement is highly questionable. Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, known as “Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi,” was already appointed as a successor to al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a U.S. operation in northwest Syria in October of 2019.
Iraqi sources casted more doubts on the INIS’ claims by revealing that Qurdash was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the battle of al-Baghuz in southeast Deir Ezzor in early 2019.
Qurdash, who’s known by nom de guerre “Hajji Abdu al-Nasir,” was reportedly the top aide of al-Baghdadi as well as the second man in ISIS.
According to the sources, the SDF handed over Qurdash, like many other Iraqi ISIS members, to Iraqi authorities. All of this happened before the killing of al-Baghdadi.