TURKEY has close ties with the Islamic State (IS) militant organisation, according to claims by an alleged former Bahraini leader of the outfit.
In an online video “confession” posted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on its website, the fighter revealed details of the group’s spread in the region.
He also spoke of secret and public agreements between the IS and authorities of regional countries as well as recent developments, such as the large-scale escape of the militants after the group lost most of the areas it controlled in Syria.
The IS is variously known as Daesh, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The SOHR said the Bahraini was arrested by the Syrian Democratic Forces while fleeing with other leaders and members from Deir ez-Zor, one of the last villages in Syria under IS control.
In the three-minute-59-second video, he talked of prominent IS leaders who played a crucial role in expanding the organisation’s reach.
He also spoke of the IS information minister, a prominent Turkish leader and on the mining of the IS currency.
The IS information minister’s wife, who was arrested in Istanbul in the last quarter of 2015, had British nationality, he said.
“IS leader Abu Obaida Al Turki intervened on her behalf through negotiations with the Turkish authorities and was able to arrange for her release,” he said.
He added that Mr Al Turki was the middle-man between the IS and Turkish authorities.
Talking about the attempt to flee Deir ez-Zor on the banks of the Euphrates river, he said, “We were trapped in very narrow areas, in towns like Hajin, Graneej and Cha’fa.
“We always wondered what happened to leaders who controlled these areas which were left to chaos and discord.”
When asked about a certain leader they were informed that he had gone to a secure area.
“We later discovered that all IS leaders co-ordinated with Turkish intelligence who helped them escape from Deir ez-Zor to Idlib to Turkey.”
He said Mr Al Turki must have organised and co-ordinated the escape with Turkish intelligence, especially since the convoy included women and injured members who would have otherwise been unable to cross the long distances without assistance.
“However, the Syrian Democratic Forces arrested everybody in the convoy.”
The video disconnects as soon as he begins divulging details about Mr Al Turki, including his inability to speak Arabic and his lack of a jihadist background.
The website claimed he said Mr Al Turki had become a symbol of the organisation by providing large numbers of Turkish fighters to the IS.
Claims were also made that Mr Al Turki was IS information minister Mohammed Furqan’s “favourite” which helped him gain leadership status. According to further claims made on the website, IS now controls just 3.7 per cent of the territory in Syria as opposed to more than 50pc in 2015.