Turkish ISIS responsible: Kobanê was the biggest mistake

Ilyas Aydin, one of the officials of the ISIS in Turkey, is in captivity in northern Syria.

The ISIS-Emir Ilyas Aydin from Turkey is in custody in northern Syria. As it turned out, he was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their offensive against the ISIS in Deir ez-Zor.

Aydin, who called himself Abu Ubeyde Türki, was charged in Istanbul in 2015 as ISIS Istanbul official. Since he was already presumed to be in Syria at that time, he was tried in absentia like dozens more defendants.

Aydin is held responsible for five separate actions, including the suicide attacks in Ankara and Suruç in 2015, which killed hundreds of people.

"The ISIS attacks in Turkey were controlled by the Turkish secret service," claims Ilyas Aydin. He is one of the main executives of the ISIS in Turkey and is now in prison in northern Syria.

Ilyas Aydin is not a traditional ISIS member. He belonged to the leadership of the organization. ISIS members became aware of him in 2014 in Istanbul. There he led a radical Islamist community, published Islamist educational videos on the Internet with high clicks and organized public sermons. His growing influence in the Islamist milieu had struck the ISIS officials in Turkey. In order to win him over to ISIS, he was invited to Syria and received by the men of Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the then head of ISIS intelligence. After this meeting, Aydin swore allegiance to ISIS.

Aydin quickly mastered the road to pledge to rise in the organization, as he told the Mesopotamia News Agency: "My trip to the ISIS was organized by a man named Ilhami Bali. He was also responsible for bringing injured ISIS fighters to Turkey for treatment and then returning them. Not everyone was allowed to pass the border and join the ISIS. The organization had to be informed in advance. In my case, I passed the border in Jarablus and was picked up directly by the men of al-Adnani. The center of al-Adnani was then in al-Bab, but he was responsible for the region from Aleppo, Manbij, Azaz and Jarablus to Hama. We came together at a military base in al-Bab and then swore loyalty to him. Two years after joining, I also met with al-Baghdadi. I became the responsible person of the ISIS in the ideological field. I became one of the central leaders of the ISIS in Syria.”

"The biggest mistake was Kobanê"

Aydin explains that the decision on the ISIS offensive on Kobanê was made by a circle of three people, an Imam and two people from the organization's Shura Council. At the time, the organization was already controlling Girê Spî (Tal Abyad) and Jarablus. "The arrival of new ISIS members, the transport of casualties, the import of explosive and chemical material was managed completely over these border towns. But between these two places, the Kurdish forces controlled Kobanê. The Kurds said they wanted to take control of other areas in the region. Besides, Kobanê was not far from Raqqa. From the organization's point of view, this posed a serious threat."

In hindsight, it became clear that the attack on Kobanê was a big mistake, according to Aydin, who continued, "We have never pursued a strategy to reduce the number of our enemies. That was a strategic mistake. Even the Prophet had pursued a different policy in his day. While he emigrated to Medina, he reached an agreement with the Jews. But our policy had a totally opposite strategy and that was our first big mistake. The second mistake was that we drew great hatred and enmity through our execution videos. On the other hand, this media strategy also helped all the radical forces join us. But that was not sustainable persuasion. And so the organization disintegrated as fast as it had grown. Our biggest military mistake, however, was the offensive on Kobanê. We let 3,500 of our fighters die there."

"The attack of Suruç was directed by the Turkish secret service"

Aydin explains that ISIS did not have any problems at the Turkish state borders until a certain point in time. At the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Turkey and the US pursued a strategy that would allow as many young people as possible to enter Syria to fight for the overthrow of Assad. Many of these youth were radical Islamists and Turkey opened the borders for them. Later, the young people joined the ISIS bit by bit. This situation persisted until the attack in Suruç.

On the background of the attack in Suruç, in which 33 young people were killed in 2015, Aydin explains the following: "For the attack in Suruç, there was a unit in the organization that handled foreign military operations. The unit was called 'Alaqatil Xarîciye' (Foreign Affairs). This unit was also responsible for the attacks in Europe. The first attack was the Raqqa centered one. All the following attacks were carried out in the so-called 'Lone Wolf' strategy. That is to say, the assassins were persons who had no organizational connection, but an ideological connection to the ISIS. The Foreign Affairs Unit had its own subgroup for Turkey. This subgroup coordinated the attacks in Turkey. I can say with certainty that the Turkish secret service had infiltrated this group. Because even before the organization sent the selected assassins for Turkey from Syria, the Turkish secret service had them on their lists and searched for them. One of them was Abdurrahman Alagöz. He was responsible for the attack in Suruç. His brother was responsible for the attack in Ankara. Their pictures had been published in Turkey among the security community even before they arrived from Syria to Turkey. It is clear that the secret service knew everything that was being discussed in the subgroup for Turkey. The Turkish secret service has certainly steered these attacks. The explosion at Suruç did not happen on orders from al-Baghdadi. At that time, a man named Abu Zeynep Rakkavi was responsible for this unit. He gave the order for the attack.”