Captured ISIS member says he received treatment at Turkish private hospital

A private hospital in Istanbul treated wounded members of ISIS in 2016 and 2017, a captured ISIS fighter told pro-Kurdish Fırat News Agency (ANF) in an interview.

ISIS fighter Muhammad Balusha, a prisoner of Kurdish-led militias in northern Syria since he surrendered two years ago, said a private hospital in Istanbul had treated him and other ISIS members during his stay in the city in 2016 and 2017.

Balusha said he had first travelled to join the war in Syria from Turkey in 2014. In 2016, he crossed back to Turkey from the border town of Jarablus to receive treatment in Gaziantep alongside 15 other ISIS members.

They were guided by a Turkish-national ISIS handler who helped them cross the border and accompanied them throughout their stay in Turkey, Balusha said.

The ISIS fighter was then sent to Istanbul for further treatment, undergoing an operation at a private hospital which treated ISIS fighters in Fatih, a conservative district that is now home to many Syrian refugees, ANF reported.

“There were civilians too, but ISIS members stood out with their beards and clothes. It looked like the doctors and nurses were aware of the situation, and it is impossible that the state did not know,” he said.

Balusha and other ISIS members stayed in an apartment near the hospital with their handler, he said.

Balusha joined ISIS in 2014, following a long involvement with Hamas and a Syrian group called Ansar al-Sharia. He surrendered to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in 2017, and has been a prisoner since.