New ISIS head is Erdoğan sympathizer

ISIS prisoner Taner Sabri Görenoğlu comes from the close environment of the new ISIS chief al-Salbi. He tells about the sympathy of the head of the terror militia for Erdoğan and Turkey.

Taner Sabri Görenoğlu comes from the direct environment of the new ISIS "Caliph" Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi alias Abdullah Qardash, alias Hadji Abdullah. He comes from the Arab minority in Hatay and is in captivity with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). ANF correspondent Bêrîtan Sarya was able to conduct an interview with Görenoğlu and receive exclusive information about the new ISIS leader.

32-year-old Görenoğlu became acquainted with the ideas of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in 2009 in Istanbul and joined the terrorist militia in 2014. He was trained as a sniper and later worked under al-Salbi's command in the financial administration of the ISIS. He was responsible for the collection of "taxes" and the collection of income in Syria, the disbursement of funds and the transfer of funds to Iraq. While he and his family tried to escape to Turkey in August 2017, he was arrested in Manbij by the SDF secret service. Görenoğlu, alias Abu Zeynep Turki, makes telling statements about the current head of the ISIS al-Salbi.

Görenoğlu refers to Turkey as the "habitat" for the ISIS. The new head of the ISIS said again and again: "If one day we come under pressure, Turkey will be the only place we can go. Only Erdoğan and Turkey will help us", reports Görenoğlu.

Görenoğlu got to know the ISIS through the Iraqi-Turkmen jihadist and aid worker al-Salbis, Laith Abush, in 2009. He tells: "Abush, a member of the Iraqi Islamic State, had been injured at the time and brought to Turkey for treatment. He was my neighbour in Bağcılar. Laith Abush had previously worked as a soldier under Saddam Hussein. To understand the ISIS, I first watched their videos and learned about their ideology. But before I joined the ISIS, I called Laith Abush and told him that I would join the organization. "Come whenever you want," he replied.

Soldiers were leaving the border at six every day

Görenoğlu comes from the same village as the ISIS responsible for Turkey, Ilhami Bali (Abubekir Turki), who is urgently wanted for attacks in Turkey. Görenoğlu reports that Bali prepared his departure for Syria with him and that he travelled to Syria to the ISIS area near Kilis in 2014. About his border crossing, he states: "When we crossed, the soldiers were about 400-500 meters away. They saw us, but they did nothing. Everything went on without the slightest problem. Since I come from a place near the border, I had done smuggling across the border before. From 2013 on, they withdrew soldiers from the border after 6 pm. After 6 p.m. one could have crossed the border even with a tank. They deliberately left it open."

First contact with al-Salbi

After spending a few days in al-Rai, Görenoğlu was sent to al-Bukamal near Deir ez-Zor and received 15 days of military training. He was then stationed at the airport of Deir ez-Zor. He recalls: "After the training I met Laith Abush. He said, "Come to me, I'll introduce you to somebody. This is how I got to know Hadji Abdullah (al-Salbi). He asked me what I wanted to do. I explained to him that I was a sniper during my military service in Turkey and that I could also do this here. So I became a sniper. A month later I was assigned by Hadji Abdullah to take over the financial tasks in Syria undercover. I started doing two jobs at once. I was both a sniper and a secret financial officer. After less than three months, I left the work as a sniper.

Financial officer for Syria

Hadji Abdullah wanted me to do it this way. My wife was from Syria. I also spoke very good Arabic. All people in the regions of Bilel and Muhasen know me. So that the US drones didn't notice me, I wore civilian clothes. I behaved like someone who had come to the ISIS area, just to live there, and continued my work. Qardash (al-Salbi) was responsible for ideological activities and finances at that time. From September 2014 to my leave from Deir ez-Zor in 2017 I dealt with the finances of the ISIS in Syria. The money was collected in various places in Syria and was collected in Deir ez-Zor. I went there, counted and recalculated it and then made my stamp on the statement. I distributed the money according to the instructions in the provinces. I sent the rest of the money to Hadji Abdullah, that is, to Iraq.

$100-150 million a month

95 percent of the income came from oil and the Koniko company (gas company). The other was donations. There was also money from fines and agriculture. We had very high income. I cannot give an exact figure now, but it was about 100-150 million dollars a month. When the ISIS started to lose territory, the income decreased, and by the beginning of 2017 it was only $40-50 million a month.

Oil sales to Turkey

There is no pipeline from Turkey to Deir ez-Zor. The Turkish government did not take the oil directly from ISIS. It went through middlemen. The intermediaries filled their tankers in Deir ez-Zor and took them from there to Idlib and then on to the border of Hatay. If the Turkish state did not buy this, who can do anything with so much untreated crude oil? I have also heard that the oil is loaded onto ships from the ISIS in Iskenderun port and sent to another country. But I don't know which country. The historical objects that the ISIS seized from Mosul and other places were also brought to Turkey by land. From there they went on to Europe. So thousands of small and large objects were removed. But this money didn't come to us."

Al-Salbi was always very concerned about safety

Görenoğlu describes al-Salbi: "Hadj Abdullah is a very intelligent person. Before he takes a step, he thinks about 500 times and pays extreme attention to safety. He does not like things that bring security problems with them. He does not take part in meetings and does not go among people. He always stays in the background for security reasons. There are not many people who know him. He always changes vehicles and wears civilian clothes. Sometimes he changes cars two or three times on routes. He has several wives. One is called Zübeyde. She could be a Turkish agent. Zübeyde claimed to be an Iraqi Turkmen, but her language doesn't match. She speaks perfect Turkish. I think she's Turkish. When Turkmen speak, they use certain terms that don't exist in Turkish. But she does not use them. Hadji Abdullah values her opinion highly. You could say that she leads Hadji Abdullah. She has good connections to the Internet. She spoke constantly with a woman named Cemile Akgündüz in Turkey. From a close confidant of Hadji Abdullah, Murat Qardash, I learned that even when the Internet was banned in Mosul, she was permanently online. Murat Qardash also thought she was a Turkish agent.

Praise for Turkey and Erdoğan

When I sometimes visited Murat Qardash, I heard her praise Erdoğan and Turkey again and again. Hadji Abdullah also has a very positive image of Erdoğan. He kept saying that if we get into trouble one day, we could only go to Turkey, Erdoğan and Turkey would help us. We could live in Turkey without problems. We don't want to harm Turkey with attacks, we don't want to disturb the politics of Turkey."