(Istanbul) The “alleged leader” of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) was “neutralized” on Saturday in Syria during an operation carried out by the Turkish intelligence services, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

“The alleged leader of Daesh, code name Abu Hussein al-Qurachi, was neutralized during an operation carried out yesterday by MIT (Turkish secret service) in Syria”, declared the Turkish head of state during an interview on the TRT Türk TV channel.

Erdogan said Turkish intelligence had been tracking the IS leader “for a long time”, without providing further details on the circumstances of the operation.

IS announced on November 30 the death of its previous leader, Abu Hassan al-Hachimi al-Qourachi, without specifying the circumstances.

He was immediately replaced by Abu Al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurachi, according to IS.

According to an AFP correspondent in northern Syria, Turkish intelligence services and local military police supported by Turkey cordoned off an area north of the town of Jandairis, in the Afrin region (north-Eastern) on Saturday. west), about ten kilometers from the Turkish border.

Residents interviewed by AFP said an operation had targeted an abandoned farmhouse that once served as an Islamic school.

Turkey has been deploying troops in northern Syria since 2020 and controls entire areas with its Syrian proxies.

The US military has carried out several strikes targeting IS leaders in Syria in recent years.

She announced in mid-April that she had “probably” killed in northern Syria a leader of the jihadist group which was planning attacks in Europe and the Middle East.

The United States military command for the Middle East (Centcom) had specified that it was a senior leader of the IS in Syria, identified as Abdel Hadi Mahmoud al-Haji Ali.

Despite its territorial defeat, IS still carries out attacks in Syria.

At least 41 people, including 24 civilians, were killed on April 16 in the country in two attacks attributed to the jihadist group against sand truffle pickers and shepherds.

In early April, the US military announced it had killed an IS leader responsible for attacks in Europe, whom it identified as Khaled Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri.

IS has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks in Europe during its time of power, when it controlled large areas in Syria and Iraq.

In October 2019, Washington announced the death of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during an American operation. His two successors were killed in Syria in February and November 2022.