Iraqi court sentences Al-Qaeda leader’s sister to death

Iraqi security forces that fight terrorism can be seen in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Iraqi court sentences Al-Qaeda leader’s sister to death

BAGHDAD: A Baghdad court has convicted the sister of the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in 2010 and sentenced her to death on terrorism charges, a spokesman said Thursday.
The spokesman of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, said in a statement that Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi’s sister was found guilty for “offering logistic support and help to (the militants) in carrying out criminal acts.”
The woman, whose name was not released, was also found guilty of “distributing money” among the militants in Mosul. He didn’t give more details on the charges and what years she cooperated with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Bayrkdar said the woman’s husband was earlier also sentenced to death as a member of the Al-Qaeda leadership.
Al-Baghdadi was killed in April 2010, along with Abu Ayyub Al-Masri, another prominent Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, in a US-Iraqi joint operation.
Thursday’s statement by Bayrkdar initially said the convicted woman was the sister Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of Daesh, but the spokesman later issued a correction, saying she is Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi’s sister.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq was the parent group from which Daesh emerged.
In mid-2014, Daesh controlled vast areas in northern and western Iraq, including Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, which was under the militants’ rule for more than three years.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh last December, after driving the militants from northern and central Iraq. Hundreds of women, including foreigners, were arrested in the sweep. Since then, Iraq’s Central Criminal Court has issued number of sentences against Daesh women, ranging from years in prison to death by hanging.
Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts remain unknown. Rumors have surfaced on several occasions of his death and injuries in airstrikes and fighting in both Iraq and Syria, territories where Daesh had declared a “caliphate,” though there was never anything to back them up.
He is believed to be in his mid-40s, and was seen in public only once when he declared himself the leader of Daesh from a historic mosque in Mosul, just a few weeks after Daesh captured the city in the summer of 2014, along with entire swaths of northern and western Iraq.
Since then, he has only released audio messages to his followers from time to time, urging them to keep on fighting.


Turkey will enter Syria’s Manbij if US doesn’t remove YPG fighters: Erdogan

Updated 14 December 2018
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Turkey will enter Syria’s Manbij if US doesn’t remove YPG fighters: Erdogan

  • Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
  • Ankara and Washington have long been at odds over Syria, where the US has backed YPG

ISTANBUL: Turkish forces will enter the Syrian town of Manbij if the United States does not remove YPG Kurdish fighters, and it will also target Kurdish-controlled areas further east, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
Erdogan said this week that Turkey would launch a new operation within days against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia which controls swathes of Syria’s northern border region, in what will be Turkey’s third military campaign in Syria in two years.
Ankara and Washington have long been at odds in Syria, where the United States has backed the YPG in the fight against the Daesh group. Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Turkey has complained over the slow implementation of a deal with Washington to pull YPG Kurdish fighters out of Manbij, which lies in mainly Arab territory west of the Euphrates, back to the eastern bank of the river.
“Manbij is a place where Arabs live, but they have surrendered the area to the terror organization,” Erdogan told members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in a speech in Istanbul. “Now we are saying that you should cleanse, remove them, or else we will enter Manbij. I am speaking very clearly.”
Erdogan said Turkey was also determined to bring “peace and security” to areas east of the Euphrates, where the YPG controls an area stretching more than 400 km (250 miles) along the border toward Iraq.
He compared the promised military campaign to an incursion into northern Syria in 2016 and one earlier this year by Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies, who still hold territory there seized from YPG and Islamic State fighters.
A spokesman for the Syrian rebels said on Thursday that up to 15,000 fighters are prepared to support Turkey’s latest operation.
The United States, which has set up observation posts on the Syrian side of the border, has warned Turkey against a new incursion and said the newly constructed positions would help deter any security threat against Turkey coming from Syria.
Erdogan, however, said Turkey had waited long enough to act against the YPG militia, which it says is indistinguishable from PKK militants who have waged an insurgency against the state in southeastern Turkey for 34 years.
“We are not only providing security for our country when taking steps in Syria but we are also protecting the honor of people,” he said.
Kurdish commander Mazloum Kobanin said on Thursday the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are spearheaded by the YPG, will respond strongly to any attack.