Terrorism

Iraqi military intelligence chief: ISIS is rebuilding

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The head of Iraqi military intelligence told CNN that senior ISIS members are rebuilding and plotting mass prison breakouts just weeks after the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed.

Lt. Gen. Saad al-Allaq told the network that Iraq has provided Turkish officials with dossiers on nine alleged upper-level ISIS members, including funders with access to “huge” amounts of money, and said that intercepted communications indicate the group is planning prison breaks across Iraq and Syria.

“Huge international efforts should be taken to deal with this issue because these criminals … are able to leave these camps and go back to their countries and thus they pose great danger in countries like Europe, Asia and northwest Africa,” al-Allaq told CNN.

{mosads}The Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria currently have about 10,000 alleged ISIS fighters in custody, as well as 70,000 women and children in a nearby prison camp, both of which the U.S. has described as a “ticking time bomb.” 

“Some of [ISIS’s] important leadership fled north, I mean in the direction of neighboring countries and into border areas like Gazientep [Turkey],” al-Allaq said.

“They have secretly crossed into these areas from the Syrian-Turkish border — top leaders who have money. They crossed with the help of smugglers by paying large amount of money and have secretly entered Turkish territory,” he added.

The fighters crossing into Turkey will play key roles in recruitment, according to al-Allaq, who said two of the subjects of the nine dossiers, both wanted on Iraqi warrants for murder and terrorism, are “among the best bomb makers that ISIS ever had.”

President Trump in October withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria, paving the way for Turkey to move forward with a long-threatened offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces. Ankara considers the Kurds terrorists, but the United States relied on them to fight ISIS in Syria.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters traveling with him in Asia last week that the United States would leave 500 to 600 troops in Syria, adding that “our mission was, is and remains the enduring defeat of ISIS.”

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