President Donald Trump broke up three weeks of dismal news about Syria with cause for celebration in both America and the Middle East. ISIS (Islamic State) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead after Delta Force commandos cornered him at his northern Syrian lair.
“I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq,” Trump said in an October 24 speech. “And I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us.”
But the location of al-Baghdadi’s death—and the people who had sheltered him—underscored serious questions about Turkey’s role in Syria. Idlib Province, where al-Baghdadi was hiding, is under the control of Syrian rebel groups, many of them Turkish-backed. And al-Baghdadi was finally cornered at a village called Barisha, less than three miles from the border with Turkey.
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