Middle East

Turkey arrests suspected former ISIS executioner in Bursa

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) – Turkish police have arrested a suspected former executioner for Islamic State in Syria, who became a gas repairman when he returned to civilian life in Turkey, local media reported on Tuesday, February 18.

The 50-year-old Syrian, known by his nickname “Abu Taki al-Shami,” was arrested at a construction site on Monday in the Bursa province of northwest Turkey, state news agency Anadolu said.

The agency described him as an executioner for a senior ISIS leader in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria, a former stronghold of the extremist group.

A video of his arrest showed him in work clothes and closely shaved.

It is alleged he is the same man videoed several years ago in Syria with a full beard, killing a civilian with a shot to the back of the head.

His arrest led to the detention of three others in Bursa on Tuesday over alleged ISIS links, Anadolu said.

ISIS held vast swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq from its rise in 2014 until its military defeat last year.

Turkey, which supported the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was accused by its allies of failing to sufficiently crack down on foreign jihadists crossing Turkish territory to join ISIS.

But Turkish authorities cracked down heavily on jihadist cells after a spate of devastating attacks inside Turkey in 2015.

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