Assassination attempt nearly kills Raqqa’s reconstruction head, Turkish role suspected

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


On Thursday evening, unidentified masked gunmen in Tal Abyad attempted to assassinate Ibrahim Hassan, the head of Raqqa’s Reconstruction Committee of the city of Raqqa, and a Turkmen.

The assailants attacked the house of Ibrahim Hassan in the village of Hammam Turkmen in the Tal Abyad region. He was hit by four shots in the back and taken to a hospital in Manbij and remains in a serious condition.

Ibrahim al-Hassan was closely working with the US-led coalition to restore services in Raqqa.

Turkey has long been bothered by the US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and on 10 January summoned the charge d’affairs of the United States Embassy in Ankara, Philip Kosnett, over reports that U.S. troops started training Kurdish forces.
According to the local news agency Hawar News (ANHA) the security forces have been mobilized, amidst speculation that the Turkish intelligence service is behind the assassination attempt.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have previously accused Turkish military intelligence of assassinating the Kurdish forces' commander in Jarablus, Abdulsettar Al-Cadiri who was killed in August 2016.

Moreover, they suggested the Turkish intelligence played a role in the defection of Talal Silo ‘in cooperation and complicity of some of his family members’ in November 2017.

This is not the first time that the Turkish intelligence service is accused of carrying out murder plots against Kurdish activists or officials in the region or abroad.

French investigators have found that Turkey’s secret services were most likely involved in the murder of three Kurdish women activists from Turkey in Paris in 2013.

The Turkish suspect Omer Guney was suspected of murdering Sakine Cansiz, 54, a high-ranking Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) member, and Fidan Dogan, 29, and Leyla Seylemez, 25, at a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris in January 2013.

Moreover, Turkey also allegedly had plans last year to target Syrian Kurdish officials abroad, such as Salih Muslim, the now former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), when he as planning to visit Europe. But the plans were cancelled.