‘ISIS attack in Hesekê directed by the Turkish state’

The attempted storming of the detention center for ISIS prisoners in Hesekê was supported by the Turkish state. According to the statements of a captured ISIS member, the preparations were made in the Turkish occupied zone in northern Syria.

With the support of the Turkish intelligence service MIT, ISIS carried out an all-out attack on the Sina prison in Hesekê on January 20. The goal of the attack was to liberate thousands of Islamists and occupy the major northern Syrian city. The plan was foiled at great sacrifice by the security forces and the population. One of those responsible for the attack was Muhammed Abd Avad, who calls himself "Rashid" in ISIS. ANF has gained access to his testimony.


"Rashid" was born in Til Temir in 1987 and joined ISIS in 2013. According to security forces, the Islamist has been involved in numerous bloody attacks in the region. Among others, he is the perpetrator of the July 27, 2016 car bombing in Qamishlo that killed 62 people. He was appointed by ISIS as a governor in Hesekê and Serêkaniyê (ar. Ras al-Ain).

In his statement on the attack on Sina prison, Rashid says: "The plan to attack the prison was prepared since April 2021. I was assigned to it by Nasir Dinallah in April. At that time, I was in Raqqa. We got the plan and the attack order from Nasir Dinallah. Nasir is the head of the security department and stays in the areas controlled by the Turkish state and its subordinate groups. He is staying in al-Bab. Al-Bab is the safest area for ISIS."

Rashid further states that the ISIS cells did not meet directly in the autonomous region of northern and eastern Syria, but that the gatherings were held at certain intervals in the Turkish occupied zone. Regarding the organization of internees in the prison, Rashid says, "I had no contact with the prison in the beginning, communication was through Nasir. Nasir sent photos of the prisoners and the prison. The photographs showed which prisoner was in which section of the prison. My first direct contact with the prison was ten days before the set attack date."

According to Rashid, thirty people were determined for the attack, in addition to suicide bombers. Car bombs were being prepared. Two people were constantly reporting the movements in the area. Actually, the attack was supposed to take place last October. Due to the security arrangements, the plan was postponed. The Islamists were set to be armed to occupy parts of Hesekê after their liberation. The ISIS plan also included orders about replacements if Rashid or Nasir Dinallah happened to be captured. A courier was used to ensure communication between the individual cells.

Rashid goes on to say that the ISIS sleeper cells in the northeastern Syrian autonomous region are financed by Turkish security authorities: "Certain individuals in Turkey financed the ISIS cells in the areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. These individuals have close ties to Turkey's security agencies. Both the attack and the general ISIS activities in the region are financed by high-ranking security officials."