SOHR exclusive:: “Abu Al-Ward Al-Iraqi”: ISIS oil chief, relations with Islamic State cells…release from SDF detention, and death in a joint coalition-SDF operation

The Syrian Observatory has obtained new and exclusive information about the prominent ISIS figure, Abu Al-Ward Al-Iraqi, who was eliminated in a joint security operation by the International Coalition and Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) on the 14th of December 2019. Abu Al-Ward Al-Iraqi is said to have been Islamic State’s oil chief, in charge of oil wells in Fulayteh, Al-Azraq and Al-Melh, even after SDF had controlled the area, he remained a coordinator and mediator between SDF and ISIS in order to facilitate the passage of oil trucks to SDF and regime-controlled areas. Al-Iraqi is also said to have been in charge of forming and supporting ISIS cells and he was referred to as “Emir Al-Badia”, which means the “Prince of Desert” in English.

Reliable sources told the Observatory that Aba Al-Ward Al-Iraqi was arrested earlier by SDF intelligence near “Al-Be’r Al-Azraq”, (Blue Well) but was released nearly five months ago after paying 50,000 USD. He had also been arrested by “Al-Hazimyun”, an ISIS hardliner military wing, in Hajin city in 2017. However, he managed to escape to Al-Badia, only to return later on to Hajin and kill many of Al-Hazimyun’s rebels, the source added.

Al-Iraqi came under surveillance for three days by International Coalition aircraft in Al-Rawdah Desert on Syria- Iraq border, after intelligence information was obtained by SDF and Coalition. According to SOHR sources , Al-Iraqi was shot dead while trying to escape,  alongside another ISIS figure from Theban town in rural Deir Ezzor, who was also killed in the operation.

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