Iraq News

ISIS elements nabbed in Syria face justice in Iraq

By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad


Photographs of one of the 15 ISIS elements who were apprehended in Syria in October with help from Iraqi intelligence were published in Iraq's Al-Qadhaa magazine. [Photo courtesy of Al-Qadhaa magazine]

Working in co-operation with the Iraqi intelligence apparatus, Syrian forces recently apprehended a number of Iraqi "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements in Syria, and have turned them over to Iraq to face trial.

In October, 15 Iraqi extremists were detained in Syria and were later returned to Iraq, Al-Qadhaa magazine reported.

One of them had been traveling on forged identity documents inside Syria.

The detainees "had been implicated in terrorist operations in Iraq before they fled to Deir Ezzor", where ISIS has its headquarters, the magazine said.

The incident is a sign of the improved performance and success the Iraqi intelligence apparatus has demonstrated in pinpointing the whereabouts of ISIS elements outside the country, security analyst Fadel Abu Ragheef told Diyaruna.

This can be attributed to "new management that succeeded in developing working methods and achieving significant wins in a relatively short period of time", he said.

Tracking ISIS elements

"The new leadership has absorbed lessons learned from previous experiences and has drawn a map" charting the movement of ISIS elements outside the country, Abu Ragheef said.

They have benefited from "strong and pragmatic international relationships and the exchange of intelligence that allowed the security forces in these countries to arrest terrorists and dismantle their terrorist cells", he added.

Iraqi intelligence agencies have "succeeded in hunting down [ISIS] throughout the world by exchanging information with the security services of other friendly countries", Abu Ragheef said.

This information can include locations, false names and aliases, passport photos and other photographs of the wanted individuals, he said.

"Iraq has now become an important source of information for all countries around the world," he said, and has become "an important player in terms of regional counter-terrorism collaboration".

Enhanced intelligence performance

The enhanced performance of the intelligence apparatus in tracking down extremist operatives outside Iraq is a positive reflection on the country’s security, security expert Jassim Hanoun told Diyaruna.

Additionally, he said, Iraqi intelligence is "carrying out important and sensitive missions to hunt down terrorists inside Iraq and to provide a treasure trove of security and intelligence information for the military in Iraq".

This means "people cannot evade justice", he said, adding that it also will serve as a deterrent to any aggressors planning to target Iraq.

The enhanced performance and activity of the intelligence services in the regional and international arena indicates those who have committed crimes in Iraq no longer have a safe haven, said Iraqi military analyst Safa al-Asam.

Militants who are implicated in terror attacks in Iraq "will no longer find safety if they leave the country", he told Diyaruna.

Joint operations between Iraqi, regional and international intelligence services will bring them down by circulating their names and information, he said.

"Iraq has become a source of security information for countries in the region," he said, noting that it has taken part in a number of security conferences to promote its vision on the mechanism of tracking down and capturing extremists.

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First establish security in Iraq before you go to Syria.