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The account of a Moroccan ISIS member who was about to meet Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan

Abu Mansour al Maghrebi joined ISIS in 2013, where he served as a clerk that dealt with international affairs. Between 2015 and 2016 he became a «diplomat» for ISIS and was about to meet Tayyip Erdogan.

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The account of a Moroccan ISIS member who was about to meet Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan./Ph. DR

He is a Moroccan electrical engineer who decided to join ISIS, in 2013, through Turkey. He later became an «ISIS Emir» that served as a diplomat and negotiated agreements with Ankara.

The journey of Abu Mansour was spotlighted, earlier in March, by Anne Speckhard and Ardian Shajkovci, two researchers from the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE).

Speckhard and Shajkovci interviewed Abu Mansour in February, 2019. In a four-hour meeting, he proudly recalled the missions he was assigned when he first joined the ranks of the «Islamic state» before his arrest in Iraq.

Once named a member of ISIS, Abu Mansour was assigned to a mission that required being close to Turkey, the country that borders Northern Syria. «My job was to direct operatives to receive the foreign fighters in Turkey», recalled Abu Mansour al Maghrebi.

Facilitating the entry of Foreign fighters to Syria

The Moroccan engineer explained that he was in charge of facilitating the entry of foreign fighters, hoping to join the «terrorist organization». According to him, ISIS paid people in the Turkish border to allow these fighters to make it into Syria. The Turkish side had non-ideological motivations and most of them were interested in money, more than anything.

While serving on the Turkish border, Abu Mansour dealt with foreign fighters who came from North Africa, in particular, to join ISIS. In 2015 only, 13,000 people from Tunisia and 4,000 others from Morocco came to fight for the organization. «[My job was] guarding the borders between Syria and Turkey and to receive the fighters», Abu Mansour stressed, before admitting that he was later assigned a more important mission.

«At the beginning I was registering people, then I became the supervisor. I was the emir», he proudly declared.

However, the Moroccan national revealed that he was more than a plane clerk within ISIS. He was a diplomat : an ambassador who negotiated agreements with senior officials in Turkey.

«I had direct meetings with the MIT [the Turkish National Intelligence Organization], many meetings with them», he admitted, before explaining that he entered Turkey several times to conclude deals on border management.

«There were some agreements and understandings between the Turkish intelligence and ISIS emni about the border gates, for the people who got injured», recalled Abu Mansour, adding that «most meetings were in Turkey in military posts or their offices».

A «diplomat» who was about to meet Tayyip Erdogan

Abu Mansour was even a very protected «diplomat», who was escorted by a team of two or three people every time he had to enter Turkey. His meetings, were, later upgraded, after he was told once that he might meet the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although he did not like being called an ambassador, Abu Mansour admitted that he was «about to meet (the Turkish President) but [he] did not». «One of his intelligence officers said Erdogan wants to see you privately but it didn’t happen», He told the same source.

In fact, Abu Mansour was aware of the reasons behind this «diplomatic cooperation» between ISIS and Turkey. He cited the «subject of common benefits». According to Abu Mansour, Turkey was interested in protecting and managing its borders with Syria.

«We are in the border and Turkey wants to control its borders – to control Norther Syria. Actually, they had ambitions not only for controlling the Kurds. They wanted all the north, from Kessab (the most northern point of Syria) to Mosul».

Abu Mansour al Maghrebi

One of the main agreements Abu Mansour negotiated with Turkey was «sending ISIS fighters to hospitals» in the country. «There was facilitation (…) If we had an ambulance we could cross without question. We could cross [into Turkey] at many places. They don’t ask about official identities», recalled the Moroccan national who is currently facing a death sentence in an Iraqi prison.

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