Kurdish Forces Claim to Have Provided Intel Leading to Al-Baghdadi

General Mazloum Abdi (Delil Souleiman / AFP / Getty)
Delil Souleiman / AFP / Getty

Kurdish military leader General Mazloum Abdi claimed Sunday morning that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had provided key intelligence revealing the location of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called “Islamic State,” ISIS, who was killed in what Mazloum called a “joint operation” with U.S. forces the day before.

“Successful& historical operation due to a joint intelligence work with the United States of America,” he tweeted.

“For five months there has been joint intel cooperation on the ground and accurate monitoring, until we achieved a joint operation to kill Abu Bakir al-Bagdadi.

“Thanks to everybody who participate in this great mission.”

 

Al-Baghdadi had been the target of previous raids but had survived. He was thought to be hiding near the Syria-Iraq border.

He was born in 1971 as Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarrai, and grew up in a middle-class family in Iraq, Ha’aretz notes. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in college, then pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the U.S. invaded Iraq, and rose through the terrorist ranks. After the U.S. withdrew from Iraq, Al-Baghdadi rose further to become the leader of ISIS.

He was occasionally mocked for his bourgeois tastes, as when he was seen wearing an expensive watch during a sermon to his followers.

President Trump was criticized for pulling U.S. troops back from the border between Turkey and Syria as Turkish troops invaded the region to secure a “safe zone” free of Kurdish forces. But General Mazloum praised Trump’s efforts to use economic and diplomatic pressure to push Turkey to accept a cease-fire, under the condition that Kurdish troops withdraw.

Kurdish forces fought alongside the U.S. in destroying the so-called ISIS “caliphate.”

Update: President Trump said from the White House on Sunday morning that the Kurds had provided intelligence, but not military support.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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