Umm Sayyaf

Umm Sayyaf is the wife of Abu Sayyaf, a mid-level ISIS leader who reportedly oversaw the group’s oil and gas enterprises. The United States suspects that Umm Sayyaf is an ISIS member who has played key roles in the group’s activities. Officials believe she is involved in ISIS’s human-trafficking operations.“Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Counter-ISIL Operation in Syria,” White House, May 16, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/16/statement-nsc-spokesperson-bernadette-meehan-counter-isil-operation-sy-0; Elizabeth Chuck, “Slain ISIS Leader Abu Sayyaf Was a Little-Known, but High-Value Target,” NBC News, May 17, 2015, http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/who-was-abu-sayyaf-emir-oil-killed-u-s-n360076. U.S. forces killed Abu Sayyaf and captured Umm Sayaf during a raid in al-Amr, Syria, on May 16, 2015.“Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Counter-ISIL Operation in Syria,” White House, May 16, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/16/statement-nsc-spokesperson-bernadette-meehan-counter-isil-operation-sy-0. U.S. forces also discovered a Yazidi woman who had been enslaved in the Sayyaf household.“Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Counter-ISIL Operation in Syria,” White House, May 16, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/16/statement-nsc-spokesperson-bernadette-meehan-counter-isil-operation-sy-0.

Upon her capture, Umm Sayyaf was flown to a U.S. base in Iraq for interrogation, with U.S. officials saying she would remain there indefinitely.Polly Mosendz, “Umm and Abu Sayyaf: U.S. Forces Kill Senior ISIS Leader, Take Another Alive,” Newsweek, May 16, 2015, http://www.newsweek.com/umm-and-abu-sayyaf-us-forces-kill-senior-isis-leader-take-another-alive-332603. The FBI is reportedly questioning Umm Sayyaf about information she learned from Abu Sayyaf as well as information on ISIS’s hostage operations.Shane Harris and Nancy A. Youssef, “Exclusive: FBI Grills ISIS ‘Mother’ About U.S. Hostages,” Daily Beast, May 18, 2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/18/exclusive-fbi-grills-isis-mother-about-u-s-hostages.html. Pentagon officials said that Umm Sayyaf will not be sent to Guantanamo Bay.Martin Chulov and Spencer Ackerman, “Doubt cast over seniority of Isis leader killed by US special forces in Syria raid,” Guardian, May 16, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/16/isis-leader-killed-us-special-forces-raid-syria.

Umm Sayyaf is an Iraqi citizen. As such, outlets are reporting that Iraqi authorities may try to claim jurisdiction over her.Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, “ISIS Official Killed in U.S. Raid in Syria, Pentagon Says,” New York Times, May 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/world/middleeast/abu-sayyaf-isis-commander-killed-by-us-forces-pentagon-says.html.

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