Turkish intelligence officers provided ISIS members with weapons and allowed ambulances to drive wounded terrorists to Turkish hospitals, according to a captured ISIS fighter.
The Turkish Intelligence Agency, also known as the MIT, allegedly provided ISIS militants with weapons as they crossed the Turkish border into Syria, according to a captured ISIS terrorist known only as “M.H.” He claimed that the weapons were handed out near Tal Abyad, a Syrian town located on the Turkish border, foreign policy reported.
“After going to Tal Abyad, we went to the Turkey-Tal Abyad border in two civilian cars at midnight. We were ten people in two pick-up cars,” M.H. told the Firat News Agency, a Kurdish news outlet based in Amsterdam.
M.H. traveled to the border at night with an ISIS handler known as Ebu Ali Essaria. A civilian car was waiting to meet Essaria and M.H. once they arrived at Tal Abyad, but the people inside of it were certainly not civilians.
“The car was a civilian one but the three people in it were wearing military boots, green trousers and military coats. After greeting one another, Ebu Ali and the commander of those in the car walked away from where we stood and talked for half an hour in private,” said M.H. “In the meantime, we carried the military materials brought from the Turkey side to our cars. The arms had been put in a total of 10 boxes.”
M.H. asked Essaria who the men in uniform were, Essaria said they were “friends,” which was a common term ISIS members used to refer to Turkish MIT officials.
M.H. claimed he was far from a true ISIS adherent. His family opposed the terrorist group, leading to his capture and torture. M.H. agreed to work with ISIS in order to save himself and his family from being killed. He recalled traveling to the border a second time, this time in the morning; he met with the same Turkish intelligence officers he had met with Essaria just days earlier. This time, however, he traveled to the Turkish town of Urfa with the intelligence officers, where he stayed for six months.
“During the course of my stay in Urfa, I myself witnessed how the Turkish state officially aided and supported the ISIS. The man leading the organisation of this aid was called Ismail,” said M.H.
The captured ISIS terrorist noted how easy it was for ISIS followers to travel across the Turkish border into Syria. Several reports from the terrorist group’s rise in 2014 and 2015 noted the ease with which ISIS followers traveled into Syria, but M.H. said Turkish officials actively facilitated the travel of ISIS fighters over the border.
“I do not know how many of them were police or working for ISIS but it is not possible that so many people can use Turkey as a transit route leading into Syria without the support of the state,” said M.H. “There was an open support by the state and nobody would speak about it at all.”
He frequently saw Turkish ambulances ferrying ISIS members across the border.
“Ambulances of the Turkish state were always standing ready at the border for the ISIS members that got wounded in Tal Abyad to take them to hospitals in Urfa and Antep for treatment,” said M.H. “Security at these hospitals is ensured by MIT members in civilian clothes. They never allow anyone else to enter those areas and see the ISIS members treated in those hospitals.”
The Kurds and Turkish government share a long and bitter history, but the Firat News Agency report seems to corroborate existing concerns regarding Turkey’s ISIS policy. Turkey was accused of supporting ISIS throughout 2014 and 2015, despite being a NATO ally. The Turkish government later decided to attack the terrorist group’s holdings along its border in September, most likely in an attempt to prevent Kurdish groups from seizing the territory.