The capture of two prominent officials in the ISIS terrorist organisation, Yasser Abdul Aziz Agvmy, a Saudi national, and Abu Bakr al-Masri, one of the ‘emirs’ active on the front-lines of Kobane, may have just lent more weight to the mounting allegations of co-operation between ISIS and Turkish authorities.
The two ISIS officials were captured near the Syrian border town of Kobane by militants of the YPG, who reported the following confession: “…we receive military and logistical support from Turkey, and the people who murder, slaughter and committed massacres came directly from Turkish territory to the town of Kobane, and most of our wounded in the war were receiving treatment in Turkey”.
According to the two prisoners, day-to-day consumables, food, and medical supplies were apparently provided by Turkish sources, whilst aid in the form of clothing and blankets came from Saudi Arabia. They also allegedly confirmed that oil was being sold to Turkish buyers, and, that seriously wounded ISIS jihadists received medical treatment in Turkey.
It is important to note that the confession was extracted by the YPG, who are certainly not an un-biased source of accusations against Turkey, however, other sources seem to corroborate the details of the confession – particularly with regards to the trade of oil and the treatment of wounded jihadists.
Apart from this, Abdul Aziz’s confession also provides an insight into the methods and military tactics used by ISIS during their attempted capture of Kobane, bearing many of the now familiar hallmarks of an ISIS offensive – he described the way in which Abu Bakr al-Masri had outlined the plan of attack, with 82 fighters divided into 6 attacking groups:
The first group was tasked with seizing control of a checkpoint to the south of the town while a second group led by Abu Bakr al-Masri attacked the ‘Rashid Bnar’ entrance to Kobane, utilising a suicide-bomber to break the defences there, and allowing them to seize the entrance to the town. A third group was meant to take control of the eastern portion of the town, between Kobane and ‘Tell Abyad’, while a fourth group attacked ‘Pshtnor’ hill – the main target of the operation according to Abdul Aziz. Finally, the fifth and sixth groups were to enter the city amidst the confusion and scattered defenders.
The fighters had planned to quickly spread throughout the city, only settling on a few specific points; this they described as a “seizure action plan”, after which two other armed groups from the towns of Sarin and Jarablos were to reinforce the attackers, and a third, smaller, group was to come from Turkey with additional ammunition, via the Kanye Kordan border point in the eastern part of Kobane.
They also went on to describe how they had planned to prevent civilians from evacuating the town, adding that a high civilian presence in the city would reduce the number of airborne and artillery attacks.
Thankfully, the operation didn’t turn out as planned, and the ISIS attackers were met with significant resistance, ultimately failing to achieve their objective. And yet, despite this failure, ISIS acted to ensure that the civilian death toll would be high; commenting on their indiscriminate violence during the attack, Abdul Aziz said: “we deployed in all the streets and alleys and killed everyone, whether civilian or military… In religious education centres, especially in Quranic verses classes, they were saying: ‘When you see the infidels, behead them and we believe that, even civilians who are helping YPG are infidels, and killing them is halal’ for this reason, we murdered Kobane people in order to get revenge from people who are helping the YPG.”