Confidential sources from northern Aleppo revealed to Athr Press most of the details related to the assassination operation, carried out by the International Coalition. The revealed information about the person who was assassinated, the mechanism of carrying out the operation, and the negative repercussions and effects it has had on the factions deployed in that area.
After checking with Athr Press’ sources, it was found that the Pentagon’s statement was incorrect in terms of the importance of the assassinated person. The sources explained that al-Aqal is not the leader of ISIS in Syria, but a former leader who was active in the city of Raqqa during the period of ISIS’s control of the city. He is responsible for planning and supervising the execution of operations, as the brother of the then-so-called “governor of Raqqa” appointed by former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
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“After SDF took control of Raqqa and ISIS withdrew from Raqqa in 2017, Aqal fled and went directly to the northern Aleppo countryside. He joined the Jaysh al-Sharqiya faction, whose militants hail from northeastern Syria. He participated in fighting within the ranks of the Jaysh during the battles occupying the area of Afrin, to which Aqal then moved to (Afrin) and settled,” the sources said.
Over the past five years, Aqal has been working in Jaysh al-Sharqiya away from his true identity, which no one knew except several Turkish intelligence officers who had sought protection, and some ISIS operatives who accompanied him to northern Aleppo after leaving Raqqa.
The sources also quoted people close to the leaders of Jaysh al-Sharqiya, that the assassination came after a tip-off from one of the leaders of Jaysh al-Sharqiya who managed accidentally to discover the true identity of Maher al-Aqal. He then rushed to communicate with American forces through some mediators, and informed them about his whereabouts and movements, hoping for a financial reward, especially since Aqal is on the coalition’s most wanted list since he was in Raqqa.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.