Senior Indonesian member of Daesh killed in Syria: police

The Daesh group flag. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019

Senior Indonesian member of Daesh killed in Syria: police

  • Muhammad Saifuddin was killed by shrapnel from a tank shell in late January in eastern Deir ez-Zor province
  • US had placed Saifuddin on a special global counter-terrorism list last August

JAKARTA: An Indonesian militant who appeared on a Daesh propaganda video showing the execution of a hostage and was said to be close to the militant group’s leader was killed in Syria last month, an Indonesian police spokesman and his brother said.
Muhammad Saifuddin, who was known by various aliases, including Abu Walid, was killed by shrapnel from a tank shell in late January in eastern Deir ez-Zor province, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said in a text message.
Prasetyo described him as an Daesh “executioner and soldier.”
Muinudinillah Basri, Saifuddin’s brother, said by telephone he had learned of his brother’s death after receiving a photo of his body.
He had not seen his brother since he left for Syria with his wife and children, he said.
The US government had placed Saifuddin, alongside two militants from Malaysia and the Philippines, on a special global counter-terrorism list last August.
According to the US Department of Treasury’s website, Saifuddin, also known as Mohammed Karim Yusop Faiz, had gone to Syria to join Daesh in 2014 and taken part in the execution of a prisoner in June 2016. He had previously been imprisoned in the Philippines for nine years on charges of illegal possession of explosives and weapons, it said.
Sofyan Tsauri, a former Indonesian militant, said Saifuddin was “an important figure” in Daesh who represented its Southeast Asian contingent and had been close to the group’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
Last weekend, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began an assault seeking to wipe out the last remnants of the militant group’s “caliphate” in the SDF’s area of operations in eastern and northern Syria. The enclave is close to the Iraqi border and comprises two villages. IS still retains territory in the part of Syria that is mostly under the control of the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 8 min 7 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”