President Recep Erdogan on Wednesday announced that Turkey has captured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sister and wife in Syria, a week after the Islamic State leader was killed in a U.S. operation.
He provided no further details as he addressed theology students in Ankara.
“Al-Baghdadi took himself out in a tunnel. You know, America launched a very solid communication campaign about this,’’ Erdogan said.
“We captured his wife. But, we did not make a fuss out of it. I announce it for the first time today,’’ he added.
Mr Erdogan did not say where or when she was detained.
On Tuesday, Turkey said it had taken into custody al-Baghdadi’s sister Rasmiya Awad during a raid in the Syrian town of Azaz, as well as her husband, daughter-in-law and five children.
Mr Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday that Mr al-Baghdadi’s sister and brother-in-law were taken into custody “on the Syrian side.’’
Mr Al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself the caliph, or leader, of Islamic State in 2014. He died during a U.S. raid in October in Barisha, in the north-western Syrian province of Idlib.
U.S President, Donald Trump announced Mr al-Baghdadi’s death on October 27, saying he blew himself up after he was trapped by US special forces in a tunnel within a compound in Barisha.