Turkey left out of US raid on Al-Baghdadi

The location of the IS leader, who was killed on Sunday by US Special Forces, was in an area controlled by Syrian militia backed by Ankara.

Time to Reading 3 min.

Subscribers article

Turkish soldiers (right) and other opposition fighters backed by Turkey on 23 October in Ras al-Ain, northeastern Syria. Ugur Can / AP

Despite the thanks of US President Donald Trump to Turkey on Sunday, October 27, the day the US special forces killed Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State (IS) organization, the cooperation with the Turkish ally seems to have been reduced to its simplest form. Ankara was kept out of the conduct of the US-led covert operation in Barisha, north-west Syria, in a zone theoretically controlled by the Turkish army, a few kilometers from the Syrian border. Turkish.

Read also Al-Baghdadi: his last moments filmed, his body immersed, two captured prisoners

In a statement released on Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not make any particular reference to his country's involvement in the operation. "The death of the leader of Daesh (acronym for EI) marks a turning point in our joint fight against terrorism ", he wrote in a Tweet.

"Our military and intelligence services have been in touch with their American counterparts on this, they have coordinated themselves", sought to reassure Monday the spokesman of the Turkish Presidency, Ibrahim Kalin. In fact, Turkey was informed of the operation at the last moment. There was no cooperation, rather a "deconfliction", when the soldiers warned themselves not to risk shooting themselves.

The choice of Erbil is not justified

Even more surprising, the US helicopters that led the raid did not take off from the Incirlik base in the Adana region of southern Turkey, where the Americans have all their logistics, but from Erbil , the capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan where US General Robert White, head of the operational forces in Iraq and Syria, went on Saturday for a meeting with Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

From an operational point of view, the choice of Erbil is not justified. Its aerodrome is located more than 700 kilometers from Barisha, the village on the edge of which Baghdadi was found and killed, while Incirlik is much closer, about 200 kilometers away.

Located north of Idlib, Barisha is also controlled by Syrian Islamist militias backed by Turkey. The hamlet where Baghdadi was staying is about 12 kilometers from the Bab al-Hawa border post, which marks the entrance to the Turkish province of Hatay.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Syria, in a prison of jihadists cut off from the world

Turkish troops are also present in Idlib, with twelve observation posts scattered from north to south of the rebel province. Their presence is the result of an agreement reached with Russia in 2018 that Ankara is supposed to control the "de-escalation zone" set up in the province, through its observation posts.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here