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Woman Found in Syrian Trailer Could Be a 'Gold Mine'

Rasmiya Awad, said to have been detained by Turkish forces, is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's sister
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2019 10:05 AM CST
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This undated handout photo shows a 65-year-old woman known as Rasmiya Awad, the sister of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.   (Handout via AP)

(Newser) – US authorities weren't able to question former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before his death in Syria. But they might get to question his older sister. Rasmiya Awad, 65, was seized Monday in a raid near the town of Azaz in Aleppo province, according to Turkish officials who now control the area. They say Awad was found with her husband, five children, and a daughter-in-law in a trailer along a known smuggling route for Islamic State families, per the BBC, though outlets including Reuters haven't been able to verify the woman's identity.

One official said Awad was being interrogated about her involvement with ISIS and could turn out to be an intelligence "gold mine" given that her brother killed himself as US forces closed in on his hideout in Idlib province. It's unclear how much time Awad actually spent with Baghdadi. Still, one counterterrorism expert tells the BBC that she "should be able to give our US intelligence and other allied intelligence officers a view into [ISIS] networks and how they moved family members, how they traveled, and who they trusted." (Read more Syria stories.)

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