An IS commander arrested by Iraqi forces this week and once tipped to replace Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a ‘treasure trove of intelligence’ and singing like a canary for his jailers.
Iraqi state media said that Abdul Nasser Al-Qardash, who was once tipped to lead the terror group, was arrested on Wednesday.
However, it has now been claimed that he was, in fact, arrested months ago after surrendering to the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) in March 2019, but only handed over to the Iraqis in recent days.
Security analyst Husham al-Hashimi told Rudaw TV that he was originally arrested after he surrendered to SDF troops after the battle for the last ISIS stronghold of Baghouz, eastern Syria, in March 2019
He has since been held in SDF detention for a year before he was handed over, the analyst told Kurdish Rudaw TV.
He said the reasons for the delay were down to the diplomatic issues of transferring such a high-level operative from Syria to Iraq.
However, he revealed that the former IS rising star has already been singing like a canary while in SDF custody.
Using the Arabic acronym for the group he said: “Al-Qardash was held in an SDF prison, under the supervision of the coalition forces – specifically the coalition’s US forces. The transfer of such a Daesh leader from Syria to Iraq entails a lot of protocol and diplomatic effort.
“But investigation into Qardash was continuous throughout his detention at Haqil al-Omar prison. Iraqi intelligence officers frequently visited him at the prison to interrogate him, and the Iraqis were able to force Qardash to reveal a lot of information on Daesh.”
He said: “He is a treasure trove of information for the Iraqi government – one that can clarify and identify a lot of key information for the Iraqi government on Daesh, including fund sources, intelligence, their operations in foreign countries, and their internal management.
“So there will be many interrogation sessions with the Daesh leader [Qardash], to extract as much information from him as possible on Daesh’s new strategy under the leadership of Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi.”
Meanwhile, in the interview, Hashimi said there are between 3,500-4,000 active militants and 8,000-9,000 inactive Daesh militants still left in Iraq.
Al-Qardash was head of one of the terror group’s top commanders and served under Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who led one of the groups that preceded ISIS.
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Story By: Conor Sheils, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
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