French jihadi Thomas Barnouin: “I was trying to go to Turkey”
One of ISIS’ most sought jihadis in connection to the recruitment networks in European countries, IS propaganda and suicide attacks led to many civilian deaths, Thomas Barnouin was captured in a special operation by YPG Anti-Terror Units recently.
One of ISIS’ most sought jihadis in connection to the recruitment networks in European countries, IS propaganda and suicide attacks led to many civilian deaths, Thomas Barnouin was captured in a special operation carried out by YPG Anti-Terror Units recently.
It is known that Barnouin took part in planning and implementation stages of some terrorist attacks targeting civilians. It is believed that he is one of masterminds of 2012 Touluse attack, which killed seven people, and the 2015 Paris attack which caused 130 people to lose their lives.
YPG’s Anti-Terror Units General Command stated that they have arrested the terrorists as they were trying to cross the border into Turkey, in a village near the Rojava-Turkey border. The smuggler that guided them and 5 other terrorists all of whom are French have also been arrested. General Command revealed the ID information of the terrorists;
Thomas Barnouin (Abu Mohamed al-Fransi), 36
Kevin Gonot (Abu Sufyan al-Fransi), 32
Muhamed Megherbi (Abu Maymuna al-Fransi), 36
Romain Garner (Abu Salama al-Fransi), 31
Thomas Collange (Abu Hussain al-Fransi), 30
Najib Megherbi (Abu Sulaiman al-Jazaeeri), 35
Barnouin tells that he first came to Syria in 2005 but was taken into custody and handed over to France. Barnouin once again came to Syria to join ISIS, saying the trip through Turkey was very easy: “Those who arranged my trip to Syria had provided me with some relations in Turkey. I did not believe I could pass through Turkey so easily. I was arrested on terrorism charges in France, so I thought in Turkey that I would be arrested and sent back to France. But the trip was so easy that I was surprised. I first came to Istanbul and then to Antakya (also known as Hatay, a southern city of Turkey which is located on the border.) The smuggler took me to Latakia. It was so easy. In 2014 we were ordered to retreat from Latakia to Raqqa. We did this through Turkey then, without any problems. Barnouin, according to the information he gives, was in charge of propaganda and media affairs in Raqqa and administrated Shari’a schools. He went to Mayadeen when YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces initiated the Great Battle to retake Raqqa. Barnouin says he was arrested by ISIS in Mayadeen and spent 105 days in jail: “When IS arrests someone, it does it without asking a single question. They don’t tell you what you are accused of. Then I understood that IS has nothing to do with Islam. IS had been established by old BAATHists and some intelligence services. They only fight for oil and money. Now the remaining fighters are realizing the fact and are seeking the ways to go out of it. There are very few people who think that ISIS is an Islamic organization. When I saw that I wanted to defect from them but I was arrested at the Turkish border.
Barnouin tells that so many fighters went to European countries to carry out suicide attacks so far, passing through Turkey: “Crossing the Turkish border is very easy when compared to others. So many people went to Europe. So far, many IS members have gone to Europe through Turkey. I have not heard about anyone crossed the Saudi or Jordanian border so far, but many people done that at the Turkish border. 90 percent of foreign militants of ISIS came to Syria via Turkey, now they want to flee through the same direction. …We thought that if we surrender to YPG we could be tortured and even be killed. We would surrender if we knew that YPG would treat us like this.”
Thomas Barnouin and those who were arrested along with him are blacklisted in so many countries in connection to the recruitment networks in European countries.
Anti-Terror Units General Command stated that the operations are going on successfully. In last two weeks over 20 ISIS terrorists, most of whom are from Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Albania, Germany, Sweden, France, England and some other European countries have been arrested as attempting cross the Turkish border.