Two Turkish ISIL militants responsible for deadly attacks determined to be in Raqqa

Two Turkish ISIL militants responsible for deadly attacks determined to be in Raqqa

Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
Two Turkish ISIL militants responsible for deadly attacks determined to be in Raqqa Two Turkish Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants responsible for a number of deadly attacks in Turkey have been determined to currently be in Raqqa. 

Turkey has been closely monitoring the operation launched to clear Raqqa of ISIL militants and found that İlhami Balı and Mustafa Dokumacı are in the city fighting in the jihadist ranks.  

Balı and Dokumacı previously made headlines for ordering deadly bomb attacks in Turkey, including in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, and the capital Ankara that led to the deaths of over 150 people, wounding dozens of others. 

U.S.-backed forces launched a major move to take Raqqa on June 6 and Turkey has been closely monitoring the operation. Preparation for the operation took seven months and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are backed by backed by air support, military advisers and weapons deliveries from the U.S.-led coalition.  

The People’s Protection Units (YPG), seen as a terrorist organization by Ankara for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), constitutes the backbone of the U.S.-backed SDF.

According to Turkish intelligence units, the so-called “Turkey sheikh” Balı, who is being sought with a red notice and has a bounty of 3 million Turkish Liras on his head, is currently in Raqqa. 

He was previously determined to be the militant responsible of coordinating the activities of jihadists en route to Syria via Turkey, and was reportedly sent to Raqqa two years ago. 

Balı’s name was involved in a number of ISIL investigations in Turkey. According to the indictments, Balı ordered and financed the attacks on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in Diyarbakır in 2015, on activists from the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) in Suruç in 2015, on a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, which was the most deadly terror attack ever carried out in Turkey, the killing of a Turkish soldier on the Syrian border, and the abduction of another one. 

Dokumacı, which came to prominence after it emerged that an ISIL cell called “Dokumacılar” was active in the Suruç attack, was also determined to be in Raqqa. He is also sought with a red notice and is known to recruit militants for ISIL, giving them weapons and explosives training in the southeastern province of Adıyaman. 

Moreover, according to a report presented to the related state institutions by Turkish intelligence units regarding Raqqa, there are some 300 Turks fighting in ISIL ranks. 

The report said 50 of the Turkish militants took their families with them to Raqqa and many of those arrived in the city after escaping from Jarablus, Azaz and al-Bab during Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation. 

Warning the authorities to take step up security measures in the border in order to prevent ISIL militants from infiltrating into Turkey, the report said that if they manage to enter Turkish soil they could carry out attacks.