Turkey, World, Americas

'Turkey, US cooperated in al-Baghdadi killing'

'We had some information military-to-military before the operation,' says Turkish defense minister

Kasim Ileri   | 07.11.2019
'Turkey, US cooperated in al-Baghdadi killing'

WASHINGTON

Daesh/ISIS terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed with military and intelligence cooperation between Turkey and the U.S., said the Turkish defense minister.

“We had some information military-to-military before the operation. At the same time, the military people coordinated among them. We wanted our troops not to cause any conflict,” Hulusi Akar told CNN on Wednesday.

"On the other hand, between our intel agencies there is very close cooperation, and I believe they cooperated and coordinated with the information as well,” he added.

Baghdadi, who was born in Iraq, blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. forces in Idlib, Syria.

Akar said the YPG/PKK terrorists did not withdraw from northern Syria in violation of deals with the U.S. and Russia.

"Both sides, the U.S. and the Russian sides, agree to remove the YPG from those areas,” the minister said. "But still there are lots of violations committed by the YPG/PKK terrorists. So we are fighting against them.”

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northeastern Syria and create a safe zone along the border, thereby paving the way for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees.

Ankara agreed with Washington on Oct. 17 to pause its operation to allow YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the planned safe zone.

On Oct. 22, Turkey also reached an agreement with Russia on a 10-point plan to force the YPG/PKK group to withdraw from the planned terror-free zone.

Underlining the necessity of a safe zone in northern Syria to bring back refugees, mostly living in Turkey, to their homelands safely and voluntarily, Akar said Turkey needs financial support to build a livable place. 

Asked whether Idlib has turned into a safe heaven for Daesh/ISIS terrorists following the operation, Akar emphasized: "It’s not true, it’s impossible."

"We are there, we are fighting in every sense against all terrorist organizations and terrorist individuals," he said.

The minister added that Turkey will continue to fight Daesh until the end. 

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