Turkey captures sister of slain Daesh leader Baghdadi in northern Syria

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Rasmiya Awad, believed to be the sister of slain Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was captured on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz by Turkish security officials, is seen in an unknown location in an undated picture provided by Turkish security officials. (Reuters)
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A man, believed to be the husband of Rasmiya Awad, sister of slain Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was captured on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz by Turkish security officials is seen in an unknown location in an undated picture provided by Turkish security officials. (Reuters)
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A woman, believed to be the daughter-in-law of Rasmiya Awad, sister of slain Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was captured on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz by Turkish security officials, is seen in an unknown location in an undated picture provided by Turkish security officials. (Reuters)
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Late Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen in an undated picture released by the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, U.S. October 30, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 November 2019

Turkey captures sister of slain Daesh leader Baghdadi in northern Syria

  • Many Daesh members have escaped through smuggling routes to northwestern Syria in the final days of battle ahead of the group’s territorial defeat earlier this year, while others have melted into the desert in Syria or Iraq

BEIRUT: Turkey captured the elder sister of the slain leader of the Daesh group in northwestern Syria on Monday, according to a senior Turkish official, who called the arrest an intelligence “gold mine.”
Little is known about the sister of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The Turkish official said the 65-year-old known as Rasmiya Awad is suspected of being affiliated with the extremist group. He did not elaborate.
Awad was captured in a raid Monday evening on a trailer container she was living in with her family near the town of Azaz in Aleppo province. The area is part of the region administered by Turkey after it carried out a military incursion to chase away Daesh militants and Kurdish fighters starting 2016. Allied Syrian groups manage the area known as the Euphrates Shield zone.
The official said the sister was with her husband, daughter-in-law and five children. The adults are being interrogated, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.
“This kind of thing is an intelligence gold mine. What she knows about (Daesh) can significantly expand our understanding of the group and help us catch more bad guys,” the official said.
Al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi from Samarra, was killed in a US raid in the nearby province of Idlib last month. The raid was a major blow to the group, which has lost territories it held in Syria and Iraq in a series of military defeats by the U.S-led coalition and Syrian and Iraqi allies.
Many Daesh members have escaped through smuggling routes to northwestern Syria in the final days of battle ahead of the group’s territorial defeat earlier this year, while others have melted into the desert in Syria or Iraq.
The reclusive leader Al-Baghdadi was known to be close to one of his brothers, known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza.


Iranian regime’s strategy of deepening suffering of Yemeni people condemned

An Arab coalition soldier patrolling the Saudi border with Yemen. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 March 2020

Iranian regime’s strategy of deepening suffering of Yemeni people condemned

  • Houthis ‘not serious about peace push as their attack came shortly after they welcomed UN call for truce’

AL-MUKALLA: The internationally recognized government of Yemen has strongly condemned Houthi ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, saying that the Houthis sought to pressure the Kingdom to halt its military support to their Yemeni opponents.

“We strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack by the Houthi militia on Riyadh and Jizan,” Yemen’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The government said that the Iran-backed Houthis were not serious about making peace in Yemen as their attack came shortly after they welcomed a UN call for a truce in Yemen.
“This is Iran’s continued strategy for deepening the suffering of the Yemeni people,” the statement said.
In the port city of Aden, Salem Al-Khanbashi, Yemen’s deputy prime minister, linked Houthi missile attacks to fresh territorial gains by the government backed by Arab coalition warplanes, noting that the Houthis wanted the Kingdom to stop its military support, which blocks their advances on the ground.
“This is a natural reaction to the victories in Nehim, Serwah and Jawf,” Al-Khanbashi said, referring to raging battlefields where government forces battle major Houthi offensives.
Military commanders and officials say that massive air support and military logistics from the Saudi-led coalition helped Yemen’s army troops and allied tribesmen push back Houthi attacks on Marib’s Kawfal military base and recapture areas in the northern province of Jawf.
Hundreds of Houthi fighters have been killed over the past couple of months in airstrikes by the coalition’s warplanes.
“The Houthis targeted the Kingdom since it’s the leader of the coalition. The coalition has contributed to the successes on the ground,” Al-Khanbashi said.
When the Houthis supported the UN call for a cease-fire to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, many Yemeni officials questioned their stand, arguing that Houthi actions on the ground and their breaches of the previous deal showed that they would not stick to their word.
“This is an untrusted group. They have not put into place arrangements related to the Stockholm Agreement such as releasing prisoners and lifting their siege,” Al-Khanbashi said.
Yemeni officials also think the Houthis positively responded to the truce calls to get a commendation from the UN.
Experts also believe that the Houthis shelled the Saudi cities with ballistic missiles to warn the Kingdom against maintaining its support of the Yemeni government.
Yasser Al-Yafae, a political analyst based in Aden, told Arab News that Saudi military support had played an important role in shoring-up government forces that fight off Houthi attacks on the central city of Marib.
“They want to force the Kingdom to stop airstrikes that obstruct their continuous push on Marib,” Al-Yafae said.
Houthi missile attacks on the Kingdom also boosted calls by Yemeni military commanders for intensifying military pressure on the Houthis on all battlefields, including the western city of Hodeida, instead of seeking peace from the rebels. Houthis have exploited the truce in the
western city of Hodeida for regrouping and escalating attacks on other fronts, Yemeni officers said.
Rafeq Doumah, a military officer from the pro-government Tehama Brigades in Hodeida, said that the Houthi missile attack was proof that the Houthis did not want peace, or respected any agreement, calling for the resumption of a military offensive on Hodeida city that was stopped following the Stockholm deal.
“The only solution (is that army) troops march toward Hodeida and Saada,” he said.