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Islamic State confirmed on Thursday that its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a weekend raid by US special forces in northwestern Syria

Islamic State Exacts Revenge On Turkey For Selling Out Al-Baghdadi

A car bomb exploded in northern Syria killing 13 and wounding 20. The blast on Saturday ripped through a crowded market in Tal Abyad, a town recently occupied by Turkish-backed militant proxies.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast targeted pro-Turkey fighters and civilians were also among the dead.

Islamic State confirmed on Thursday that its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a weekend raid by US special forces in northwestern Syria, and vowed revenge against the United States.

The Iraqi rose from obscurity to lead the ultra-hardline group and declare himself “caliph” of all Muslims, holding sway over huge areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 before Islamic State’s control disintegrated under US-led attacks.

The group confirmed his death in an audiotape posted online and said a successor, identified as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, had been appointed.

Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher at Swansea University focusing on Islamic State, said the name was unknown but could refer to a leading figure in Islamic State called Hajj Abdullah, whom the US State Department had identified as a possible successor.

A former senior figure in the rival Islamist group al Qaeda in Iraq, he is also known as Mohamed Said Abdelrahman al-Mawla.

Analysts have also named the Saudi Abu Abdullah al-Jizrawi and Abdullah Qaradash, an Iraqi and one of Baghdadi’s right-hand men, as potential successors along with the Tunisian Abu Othman al-Tunisi.

An Islamic State spokesman warned the United States in the tape to “beware vengeance (against) their nation and their brethren of infidels and apostates”.

Baghdadi’s death is likely to cause Islamic State to splinter, leaving whoever emerges as its new leader with the task of pulling the group back together as a fighting force, according to analysts.

Whether the loss of its leader will in itself affect the group’s capabilities is open to debate. Even if it does face difficulties in the transition, the underlying ideology and the sectarian hatred it promoted remain attractive to many, analysts say.

In order to understand the significance of relationship between Washington and Ankara, it’s worth noting that the United States has been conducting airstrikes against targets in Syria from the Incirlik airbase and around fifty American B-61 hydrogen bombs have also been deployed there, whose safety became a matter of real concern during the foiled July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration; when the commander of the Incirlik airbase, General BekirErcan Van, along with nine other officers were arrested for supporting the coup; movement in and out of the base was denied, power supply was cut off and the security threat level was raised to the highest state of alert.

According to the terms of the agreement, Turkish forces would have exclusive control over 120 kilometers stretch between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn to the depth of 32 kilometers in northern Syria.

To the west and east of the aforementioned area of the Turkish Operation Peace Spring, Turkish troops and Russian military police would conduct joint patrols to the depth of 10 kilometers in the Syrian territory, and the remaining 20 kilometers “safe zone” would be under the control of Syrian government which would ensure that the Kurdish forces and weapons are evacuated from Manbij, Kobani and Tal Rifat to the west and the Kurdish areas to the east, excluding the city of Qamishli.

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