Turkey deports senior ISIS person to Iraq

A senior ISIS official arrested in Turkey on 8th February was last week deported to Iraq according to reports in various Turkish media outlets.

Ismail al-Ithawi, 55, an Iraqi national, reportedly led ISIS’s Ministry of Religious Edicts and also belonged to a committee responsible for selecting the organization's leaders.

Following ISIS recent catastrophic loss of territory in Syria and Iraq, al-Ithawi reached Turkey via Raqqa, being smuggled across the border by people traffickers. He then settled in the northern province of Sakarya, using his brother’s name as an alias.

He was reportedly arrested following a joint operation between Turkish, Iraqi and U.S. intelligence services and interrogated in Turkey for nearly a week prior to being deported.  

The collaborative effort to detain and deport al-Ithawi provides further indication that relations between Ankara and Baghdad are improving following escalating tensions in the last year. Last week Turkey pledged $5 billion to help rebuild Iraq, whilst in January the two countries established a committee to discuss the allocation of water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.