Turkey has arrested and is now interrogating a high-ranking jihadist terrorist from ISIL in a recent operation in northeastern Syria, the interior minister has announced, identifying the person as Ebu Cihad al-Din al-Nasır Ubeyde, or Yusuf Huba, behind the attacks in Russia and Germany in the past.
“We have captured a very senior Daesh (Arabic acronym of the ISIL) member who is known as a bomber, bomb-maker and mastermind of suicide bomber attacks. The terrorist is behind the attacks in Russia in 2018 and in Germany’s Hamburg. He was caught in Syria and under interrogation there,” Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told Hürriyet Daily News during a visit to Demirören Media Center on Nov. 21.
Codenamed Yusuf Huba, the terrorist is responsible for around 20 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of many innocent people, the minister said, adding that Huba also was recruiting and training would-be suicide bombers.
Alone this arrest shows Turkey’s continued commitment to fighting against ISIL as the Turkish army had neutralized more than 3,000 jihadist terrorists through cross-border operations in the Syrian territories, the minister recalled.
“The DAESH is not just a terror organization posing a threat to people’s lives. But it also causes tremendous damage to Islam through the language and terminology it uses. It’s, therefore, our priority to fight against it inside and outside Turkey,” he added. “We continue to fight ISIL with the same determination.”
Turkish law enforcement conducted 1,288 operations against ISIL in the first 10 months of 2019 and detained more than 3,500 Turkish nationals and 2,600 foreigners, he said. This anti-ISIL campaign resulted in the arrest of 1,686 foreigners and around 3,000 Turkish nationals, Soylu added.
PKK losing ground
The minister has updated the ongoing fight against the PKK, designated as a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Turkey’s military operations into northern Iraq where the PKK has its headquarters and training centers have yielded important results and the senior leaders of the terror organization can hardly move, Soylu stressed.
Due to lack of senior officials, the PKK has appointed Ferman Hüseyin as responsible for Turkey although this person has little knowledge about Turkey, Soylu said, stressing that the PKK has difficulties in finding field commanders to coordinate terror attacks on Turkish soil.
“The PKK has no more ranking members on the Turkish soils. We have neutralized all of them. No one from the leadership is willing to become a field commander and to be deployed to Turkey,” he stressed.
The PKK also faces difficulties in deploying new terrorists to Turkey as almost all transit routes from northern Iraq into Turkey are under the surveillance of the Turkish military via drones, Soylu said, underlining that the number of terrorists who may penetrate Turkey has decreased from around 500 to 240 annually.
There are slightly more than 500 terrorists operating on Turkish soil, the minister said, adding that around 220 terrorists have surrendered in the recent period.
Minister complains about PKK’s lawyers
According to the minister, both the PKK and the far-leftist DHKP-C owe their continued existence to their lawyers. “The DHKP-C executive brass has many lawyers. In the PKK’s front, the lawyers are serving as messengers and helping the organization to continue to function. We are mulling over legal regulations against the PKK lawyers,” he stated.
Interpol denies cooperation
The minister also gave an update on the fight against FETÖ, a terrorist organization under the leadership of Fethullah Gülen, behind the July 2016 failed coup.
The group is still under the protection of the U.S., EU and Israel, and it, therefore, continues its anti-Turkey campaign from abroad, Soylu said, slamming Interpol for not cooperating with Turkey for the arrest and extradition of FETÖ members.
“We wanted to issue a red bulletin for 464 people through the Interpol. But it denied us on the grounds that it categorized the July 15 as a military coup attempt and not a terror attack. This is nonsense, just an excuse,” he said.
Turkey to list UAE’s Dahlan on terror list
Turkey’s fight against the FETÖ will include some foreign nationals who have been involved in the coup attempt, such as Mohammed Dahlan, a Palestinian national working for the United Arab Emirates, the minister said.
“Mohammed Dahlan and his network will soon be listed on our red list (of terrorists),” Soylu said.