Abu Ayman al-Iraqi

Abu Ayman al-Iraqi was ISIS’s military commander and the regional commander of Syria’s Latakia province.Mike Giglio, “A Late-Night Phone Call Between One of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy,” BuzzFeed News, April 3, 2014, http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/a-late-night-phone-call-between-one-of-syrias-top-extremists#.wgA5eEyo8d;
Rania Abouzeid, “Inside the battle for Assad’s heartland,” Al Jazeera, August 28, 2013, http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/8/27/inside-the-battleforassadasheartland.html.
According to some Syrian rebels, al-Iraqi was the third highest leader in ISIS’s Syria ranks.Mike Giglio, “A Late-Night Phone Call Between One of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy,” BuzzFeed News, April 3, 2014, http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/a-late-night-phone-call-between-one-of-syrias-top-extremists#.wgA5eEyo8d. He was also a member of ISIS’s governing Shura council.Richard Barrett, “The Islamic State,” Soufan Group, November 2014, p. 30, http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/TSG-The-Islamic-State-Nov14.pdf. Before his role in ISIS, al-Iraqi was detained at the U.S.-run Camp Bucca military prison in Iraq with other prisoners who would go on to form ISIS’s leadership.Mohammed Mahmoud Mortada, “The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders,” Al-Akhbar English, September 13, 2013, http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/21519. He had a reputation for carrying out “pathological violence.”Richard Barrett, “The Islamic State,” Soufan Group, November 2014, p. 32, http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/TSG-The-Islamic-State-Nov14.pdf. Al-Iraqi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, on November 7, 2014.Ruth Sherlock and Magdy Samaan,“Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's close aide killed in US air strike,” Telegraph (London), November 9, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11219630/Islamic-State-leader-Abu-Bakr-al-Baghdadis-close-aide-killed-in-US-air-strike.html;
Alessandria Masi, “If ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Killed, Who Is Caliph Of The Islamic State Group?” International Business Times, November 10, 2014, http://www.ibtimes.com/if-isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-killed-who-caliph-islamic-state-group-1721638.

Because of his high leadership rank in the terror group, al-Iraqi did not release audio or video statements and was described as a “shadowy jihadi.”Mike Giglio, “A Late-Night Phone Call Between One of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy,” BuzzFeed News, April 3, 2014, http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/a-late-night-phone-call-between-one-of-syrias-top-extremists#.wgA5eEyo8d. Noah Bonsey of the International Crisis Group said that among Syrian rebels and activists, al-Iraqi had “the worst reputation” of any ISIS commander during the group’s 2013 advance into Syria. He was reported to practice a “special brand a savagery,” murdering moderate Syrian rebel leaders in cold blood.Mike Giglio, “A Late-Night Phone Call Between One of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy,” BuzzFeed News, April 3, 2014, http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/a-late-night-phone-call-between-one-of-syrias-top-extremists#.wgA5eEyo8d.

Al-Iraqi served as an intelligence officer with the rank of colonel in Iraq’s army under Saddam Hussein.M. Alex Johnson, “Key Players: Who’s Who in the Battle for Iraq?” NBC News, June 13, 2014, http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iraq-turmoil/key-players-whos-who-battle-iraq-n130981. He was detained at the U.S.-run Camp Bucca prison in 2007 for three years. The exact dates and conditions of his internment are unknown.Mohammed Mahmoud Mortada, “The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders,” Al-Akhbar English, September 13, 2013, http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/21519;
“Exclusive: Top ISIS leaders revealed,” ­Al Arabiya, February 13, 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/02/13/Exclusive-Top-ISIS-leaders-revealed.html.
Following his release, he fought against the Syrian regime, recruiting fighters who formed ISIS.“Profile: The Rise of the Islamic State (IS),” tahrirsouri.com, July 12, 2014, http://tahrirsouri.com/2014/07/12/profile-the-rise-of-the-islamic-state-is/ (page discontinued). With ISIS’s official creation in April 2013, he became the terror group’s military commander and led numerous battles against government forces in western Syria. Rania Abouzeid, “Inside the battle for Assad’s heartland,” Al Jazeera, August 28, 2013, http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/8/27/inside-the-battleforassadasheartland.html.

 
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