Suspected ISIS Turkey head in YPG detention camp in Syria – ANKA

The alleged head of the Islamic State’s (ISIS)  Turkey branch and a suspect in the deadly 2015 Ankara bombing is being held by a Kurdish militia in a camp in Syria, ANKA news agency reported on Wednesday based on Turkish police intelligence report. 

Ilhami Bali is being kept in a camp run by the Kurdish-majority People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, along with three other fugitive suspects in the Ankara bombing, the agency said, citing court documents.

Bali, a Turkish national from Turkey’s southern Hatay province, is regarded as the ISIS “Emir”, or leader of operations, in Turkey. As a U.S.-led coalition began to strike ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq during the summer of 2015, Bali gave the order to go to war with Turkey. 

Turkish prosecutors hold Bali’s cell responsible for at least two bombing attacks that year, including the attack in Ankara.

On Oct. 10, 2015, two ISIS militants blew themselves up in a crowd made up largely of leftists and Kurdish sympathisers, killing civilians and wounding 500 more, making the incident the deadliest terror attack in modern Turkish history.

Thirty-six suspects faced trial, with nine receiving 101 counts of life in prison in 2018 over the attacks that followed the collapse of a peace process between Turkey and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in July 2015.

Bali is one of a number of fugitive suspects in the case, set to resume on Thursday with one suspect appearing before a judge.

Court documents list Bali’s location as camp “X”, while the other three suspects, Cebrail Kaya, Mustafa Delibaşlar and Fadile Delibaşlar, are listed as being detained a camp “Roj”, ANKA said. The report is written by Deputy head of anti-terror unit Hakan Yildirimoglu. 

The YPG was a primary ground force in the U.S.-led coalition’s fight against ISIS, however shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered his troops – a buffer between the Kurdish armed groups and Turkey, who see the groups as a national threat – pull out of Syria, Ankara launched a military incursion into northeast Syria in October 2019 to push the YPG back from the Turkish-Syrian border.