Thursday, September 12, 2013

Turkish prosecutor indicts six jihadists for alleged attempts to acquire chemicals with intent to produce sarin

Turkish police raids al-Nusra safe house in Adana.
The Turkish Republican Prosecutor in Adana has issued a 132-page indictment, alleging that six members of the al-Qaeda-aligned al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham – one Syrian and five Turks – tried to acquire chemicals with the intent to produce the chemical weapon sarin. The Turkish newspaper Radikal reports that the suspects were under surveillance by Turkish police after they received information that the al-Nusra members tried to acquire two government-regulated military-grade chemical substances. 11 people were arrested in their safe house in the city of Adana in southeastern Turkey on May 23, 2013, after they had acquired some of the chemicals. 

Initial reports in the media said that the jihadists had been in possession of 2.2 kg Sarin gas when arrested. Five of the detained jihadists were released by Turkish police after interrogation and background checks. Media reports indicates that the five released were Turkish nationals who shortly after being released joined al-Nusra Front in Syria.

In the indictment, the prosecutor names the 35-year-old Syrian-national Hytham Qassap (codenamed “Abu Salah”) as the buyer and leader of the group. The five Turkish-nationals: 52-year-old Halit Usta, 47-year-old Halit Ünalkaya, 50-year-old İbrahim Akça, 43-year-old Bekir Karaoğlan, and 40-year-old Raif Ay, are named as Qassap’s logistics men. The Turkish nationals were released on bail after laboratory results showed that the chemical substance in their possession during arrest had not been sarin. But the prosecutor kept Qassab in detention, since surveillance tapes indicated discussions regarding acquisition of large amounts of chemical substances with the intent to produce sarin. All six jihadists deny the accusations. 

Qassab is being charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “attempting to acquire weapons for a terrorist organization.” The other five members are being charged with “attempting to acquire weapons for a terrorist organization.” If guilty, Qassab could receive a 25 year prison sentence. His friends could receive 15 years each.

The prosecutor's indictment lists the following items as attempted to be acquired by the jihadists:
  •  Timed fuses
  •  Chrome pipes
  •  Thionyl Chloride (SOCl2)
  •  Potassium Fluoride (KF)
  •  Methanol (CH3OH)
  •  Isopropanol (C3H8O)
  •  Isopropanolamine (C3H9NO)
  •  White Phosphorus (P4)
  •  Medical Glucose
  •  Bauxite

YPG War Balance – Sept. 10-11, 2013

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has issued a statement regarding clashes on Sept. 10-11 with al-Qaeda-aligned Islamic Stateof Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and Al-NusraFront, in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan).

According to YPG’s statement, a total of 177 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed on different fronts in Rojava. YPG reports that 8 of its fighters were killed in the clashes. The high number of al-Qaeda casualties has been attributed to reckless large-scale attacks on well-defended YPG positions. YPG also believes that the attacks carried out by ISIS/Nusra -- the largest to date -- were in honor to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A breakdown of clashes between YPG and ISIS/Nusra is as follows:

September 10, 2001

Qamishlo and vicinity: 

20 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed when YPG liberated the village of Uwêniyê from al-Qaeda-aligned groups.

September 11, 2001

Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ayn):

16 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed when YPG carried out a pre-emptive strike on an al-Qaeda staging base, dispersing the Jihadists.

Girkê Legê (Al-Ma’abada) and vicinity:

13 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed in clashes with YPG when Jihadist forces attacked the village of Girhok, close to the town of Çilaxa.

58 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed when a large group of them attacked YPG positions in Rimêla Paşa (Rumaylan Basha).

Til Koçer (Al-Ya’rubiah) and vicinity:

26 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed when they attacked the village of Xiraba Jêr.

32 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed in the villages of Mişerfa and Sidêdiyê where they mounted another large-scale attack. YPG reports that two tanks and four DShK-carrying trucks belonging to ISIS/Nusra were also destroyed.

Girê Spî (Til Ebyad) and vicinity:

12 ISIS/Nusra fighters were killed when they attacked YPG positions between the villages of Çelbê and Birkino. Two DShK-carrying trucks were also destroyed.

UPDATE (September 12):

YPG states that two al-Qaeda Emirs were among the dead Jihadists in Girkê Legê. Another two Emirs were captured wounded. The name of one of the dead Emirs is believed to be Abu Kheteb, and the name of one of the wounded Emirs is Emu Ammar Sehyoni. Both are foreign citizens (non-Syrians).