Rehana is reported to have been beheaded by ISIS. Photos claiming to show her severed head are circulated on Twitter, but her death is unconfirmed at this point. The Kurdish YPG (People’s Defense Unit) and YPJ (Women Protection Unit) aren’t able to be reached for comment.
Hassan is the fourth person from Portsmouth killed while fighting for ISIS. Chairman of the Portsmouth Jami Mosque, Abdul Jalil:
It has been confirmed with the family that he has died. Right now they are very upset. I am saddened and again shocked for the community about this news.
It is thought he died in Kobane.
Syria’s Information Minister tells SANA that government forces are still searching for the third MiG:
Regarding … that terrorists control three jets in al-Jarrah military air base in Aleppo, there are three old aircraft that the terrorists were testing so the Syrian Arab Army immediately destroyed two of them on the runway as they were landing. It does not worry us and [the planes] cannot be used [militarily].
Aqidi, a senior Al-Nusra member, says he received treatment from Kassig during a bombardment by the Assad regime, and also gave treatment to Dujana, identified as Nusra’s leader in Deir Ezzor. He says he believed at the time that Kassig was a fellow jihadi:
[…] It later became clear to me that he’s an humanitarian activist that served in Deir Al-Zour for more than a year and was then kidnapped by Isil
ISIS releases a video claiming that it is in possession of an airdrop of weapons meant for Kurdish forces. ISIS:
Weapons and munitions dropped by American planes and landed in the areas controlled by the Islamic State in Kobani.
Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe says the figure is a minimum, and the ‘drumbeat of terrorism in the UK’ is now ‘faster and more intense’.
Those are the ones that we believe have gone. There may be many more who set out to travel to another country and meandered over to Syria and Iraq in a way that is not always possible to spot when you have failed states and leaky borders.
The UK government is reported to redeploy drones based in Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria, where they may get authorization to deploy Hellfire missiles. They will be based in Kuwait and controlled via satellite link from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Whitehall official:
The Reapers would be very useful for intel on Isis in Syria for ourselves and our allies; that would be their primary purpose. Their use in combat would obviously depend on parliamentary approval – unless we have a need for them to secure the wellbeing of British subjects or prevent a humanitarian crisis.
A video released on ISIS-affiliated social media pages shows a woman being stoned to death. The charges against the woman are not clear, but a cleric accuses her of committing adultery. The woman pleads for forgiveness with a man that she refers to as her father, before the sentence is carried out.
The President of Syria takes advantage of the U.S. led coalition combating ISIS forces to advance a crushing force against rebel forces. Changing tactics, the Syrian government scales back in certain areas to focus on key areas, such as the two cities of Damascus and Aleppo. Harmer:
Whereas previously the Syrian regime had some interest or some level of obligation to take direct action against ISIS, to the extent that the American military is now doing this, the Syrians don’t have to do it. If ever there was a time when the Syrian regime had everything lined up for them to do so, this is it. It is in a very favorable position and it’s got the opportunity to execute major offensives around Damascus and Aleppo.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the country is assisting Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements to cross the border.
Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government announced that they are in cooperation with Turkey and the U.S.. Actually, we are helping peshmerga forces to enter into Kobani to give support.
Shim, a Lebanese-American reporter for Press TV, is killed in a car crash in Turkey a day after stating that Turkish intelligence was spying on her. She had been reporting that ISIS militants had crossed the border in trucks used by NGOs to carry food. Press TV broadcast:
Just a couple of days ago she had been threatened by Turkish intelligence
— Shabbir R Hassanally (@shabbirh) October 20, 2014
Ali, a political analyst based in London, tells Press TV in an interview that Shim was pursued by the Turkish intelligence service. Ali, using another name for ISIS or the Islamic State:
[She was] assassinated [because] she gave the truth about what this regime in Turkey, that has been oppressing its people, that has been oppressing the Kurdish population and that is actively working to support…this terrorist organization known as the ISIL
Food, medical supplies, and other aid provided by USAID, European donors, and the UN may be being channeled to ISIS, along with money paid to bribe the group to allow convoys through. Unnamed aid coordinator:
The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: the bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs.
The person says the kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local non-governmental organizations that distribute the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it. Jonathan Schanzer with the D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies:
I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance. By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.
U.S. officials say the ISIS offensive on Kobani is concentrating the group’s manpower in a small area and presenting a target for air strikes. U.S. CentCom chief Army Gen. Lloyd Austin:
The enemy has made a decision to make Kobani his main effort…Now, my goal is to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL. And if [the enemy] continues to present us with major targets … then clearly, we’ll service those targets, and we’ve done so very, very effectively here of late
White House Press secretary Josh Earnest says the administration sees the assault as an opportunity:
That has created a rather target-rich environment around Kobani for American and coalition air strikes that when they see clusters of fighters or they see depots of material or supplies that are critical to the success of those fighters, it’s easier to take them out.
ISIS is reported to have crucified a 17-year-old boy it said was taking photos of its installations and selling the for 500 Turkish lira. The group is reported to have left his body on display in a square in Syria with a note pinned to his chest saying he has been ‘killed and crucified for a period of three days’ as punishment for ‘apostasy’.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says ISIS fighters have been making test flights in fighter jets believed to be MiG 21 or MiG 23s captured from the government. It isn’t known if the jets are equipped with weapons or if the pilots are capable of long-distance flights. Rami Abdulrahman:
They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for Saddam Hussein. People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back,’ he said, citing witnesses near al-Jarrah military airport.
Israel’s Arutz Sheva newspaper reports that the State Deparment’s Jen Psaki confirms talks have been held with the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), part of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PYD is considered by Turkey to be an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. This is classified by the U.S. and EU as a terrorist organization due to its involvement in the insurgency in Turkey for Kurdish independence. Psaki:
This was just one conversation over the weekend. So it doesn’t represent coordination. It represents one conversation.
She doesn’t state how frequently U.S. officials might be in contact with the YPG. Arutz Sheva reports that an alliance with the Kurdish group could place Turkey’s involvement in the coalition against ISIS at risk. But it says Kurdish groups often have the best on-the-ground knowledge, and Kurdish groups previously warned the U.S. about ISIS months in advance.
28-year-old Matson from Racine, Wis., is recovering in a northern Syrian hospital after being injured in the foot in an ISIS attack. On why he decided to join the Kurdish forces:
I couldn’t just sit and watch Christians being slaughtered anymore. I got sick of giving online sympathy. Five minutes of lip service does nothing. These people are fighting for their homes, for everything they have.
ISIS issues a set of 11 rules for journalists in Deir Ezzor, including a requirement to submit a request for a license to the group’s media office, providing the user-names of any social media accounts operated by journalists, and avoiding working with TV channels it has placed on a blacklist as being anti-Islamic, including Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Journalists must also swear allegiance to Baghdadi as the Caliph. The Independent reports that most journalists have fled the area since the rules were announced.
ISIS fighters in Raqqa are reported to live an elite lifestyle including eating at five-star restaurants, swimming in hotel pools, and owning luxury property and vehicles. They were also given payrises and roast lamb for the Eid al-Adha festival, and receive preferential medical treatment. Source:
As soon as they arrived, they became the elite of the community. They were given comfortable homes and cars — and they get a generous salary every month. Recently, a bombing left many people, including fighters, badly hurt. We ran to help and saw ISIS trucks arrive and remove their men for treatment, leaving the civilians just lying there.
The Turkish Government says that at least 130,000 Kurdish refugees have fled Syria and moved to Turkey as they escape the Islamic State Militants. Temporary refugee camps have been put in place to cope with the growing numbers. Turkish Government:
More than 130,000 Syrian refugees. many of them Kurds, have crossed the border over the last three days.
Turkey closes its borders to fend off at least 130,000 Kurdish refugees. The Kurds are fleeing a Syrian town which Islamic State Rebels are poised to take. The reaction takes place as some Kurds in Turkey take to the streets to protest in support of the entry of the refugees. Demonstrator Mehmet Eminakma:
We’ve come to support our brothers in Syria under attack by ISIL.
Australian Federal Police investigate the Bisotel Rieh money-remittance provider after financial intelligence and compliance agency AUSTRAC suspends the company for failing to declare A$9 million (US$8.08 million) that it sent overseas between January and August. A company director, Damour Sharrouf, is understood to be Khaled Sharrouf’s sister while the other company director is Ahmed Alwash, believed to be Damour Sharrouf’s husband. The investigation concerns transfers of funds to individuals in Malaysia. Staff are said to admit that it ‘actively smuggles’ money from Turkey into Lebanon. AUSTRAC chief executive John Schmidt:
The figures don’t appear to match. It’s a fairly big difference in a short space of time. We are satisfied that the continued registration … may involve a significant financing-of-terrorism risk.
Congress votes 78-22 to approve training and arming the Syrian opposition. The new authorization to train the moderate Free Syrian Army expires Dec. 11. The bill does not decide on whether Congress will extend the training authorization or take up a broader authorization of military force against ISIS. Some senators are also pressing to add a passage that resembles a declaration of war to an annual defense policy bill pending in the Senate. House leaders oppose the addition, and the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could begin drafting their own authorization of force as soon as next week. Obama:
We are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together … These terrorists thought they could frighten us or intimidate us. Americans, we do not give in to fear.
Manning writes a commentary in The Guardian stating that military strikes play to ISIS’s strengths, and recommending four areas that a containment strategy could focus on. She suggests countering ISIS’s online presence to curb recruitment. The coalition should then set clear, temporary borders in the region to discourage ISIS taking territory where humanitarian issues could result. It should place a moratorium on ransom payments for hostages and cut off other sources of ISIS funding such as oil trade and artefact theft. Finally, it should allow ISIS to succeed in setting up a failed ‘state’ – in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern.
Eventually, if they are properly contained, I believe that Isis will not be able to sustain itself on rapid growth alone, and will begin to fracture internally. The organization will begin to disintegrate into several smaller, uncoordinated entities – ultimately failing in their objective of creating a strong state.
Dempsey says strikes on ISIS in Syria will be different from the ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics of the Iraq War:
This won’t look like a shock-and-awe campaign because that’s not how Isil is organized.
The U.S. will work to ensure a Syrian chain of command is in place to lead forces against ISIS in what he says will be a persistent campaign.
Hagel says that the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will depend on local opposition:
The best counterweight against Isil are local forces
U.S. troops will not engage the group directly:
American forces will not have a combat mission.
He says U.S. forces in Iraq will operate out of Baghdad and Irbil, for a total of about 1,600 troops. will support Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has agreed to host training grounds for more than 5,000 Syrian opposition forces, who will be given small arms, vehicles and communications equipment and training:
We would be prepared to provide increasingly [sophisticated] types of assistance.
The U.S. will select the Syrian opposition carefully:
A rigorous vetting process would be critical to the success of this program. There will always be risks. But we believe that risk is justified.
Defense Secretary Hagel says that the U.S. is fighting a war against ISIS:
This will not be an easy or a brief effort … We are at war with Isil, as we are with al-Qaeda.
Officials in the House of Commons Library warn that airstrikes against ISIS in Syria may be difficult to justify under international law, despite Cameron’s view that the Assad regime is illegitimate and does not need to give permission for military operations. A briefing paper prepared for Members of Parliament:
Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request. The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest tells a weekly press briefing that there are protocols in place if potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria against ISIS meet with a response from the Assad government’s air defenses:
There are rules of engagement any time that our men and women in uniform are put into harm’s way. And so there will be rules of engagement that are related to any military orders that the President directs – military actions that the President directs. So I’d refer you to the Department of Defense for a detailed assessment of that. But it won’t surprise you to know that there are contingencies related to self-defense when it comes to these sorts of rules of engagement.
He says that media reporting of the secret Special Forces mission to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages – which ultimately failed – demonstrates President Obama is willing to put boots on the ground if necessary:
But I can say that while I think it is evident to anybody who is paying attention here that that is – indicates the President’s willingness to order the kind of military action that’s required to protect the lives of military – of American citizens, even if it means sending our military into Syria.
The organizer of the British volunteer convoy that Henning was traveling with when he was kidnapped by ISIS militants says that he was dedicated to aid work in Syria. Bolton aid worker Kasim Jameel:
Alan is an amazing guy. He is the best of the best. He is my best friend and I am praying for him. He loved the cause so much that when he went to Turkey on holiday with his family, he had a big tattoo across his arm saying ‘aid for Syria’ – he was that dedicated. The cause had literally changed his life around – it meant that much to him.
Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits says authorities have received intelligence that one of the two Austrian teen girls believed to have joined ISIS may have been killed:
We also have this information and have checked it, but cannot say with absolute certainty that it is true. But the parents have been informed their daughter could be dead.
It is not specified whether the girl believed to have died is 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic or 15-year-old Sabina Selimovic, both of whom are believed to have run way from their homes in Vienna in April to join ISIS.
Cameron resists calls for the UK to join the U.S. in conducting airstrikes on ISIS. With the threat posed by ISIS to UK citizens underscored by the group’s execution of Haines, Cameron says the nation will stick with its approach of diplomatic pressure, supporting U.S. action and helping Iraqi and local Kurdish authorities. Televised statement:
As this strategy intensifies, we are ready to take whatever steps are necessary to deal with this threat and keep our country safe. Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle, and ultimately destroy ISIL (IS) and what it stands for. We will do so in a calm, deliberate way, but with an iron determination.
Abbott announces that Australia will deploy 400 air force personnel and 200 special forces troops to the United Arab Emirates where they will be based at a U.S. facility in preparation for possible military operations against ISIS. Eight Super Hornet jets, an EWAC (Early Warning and Control) plane and a tanker aircraft for aerial refueling will be deployed. He tells reporters in the Northern Territory capital city Darwin that the government considers the deployment ‘prudent and proportionate’, but that there there are ‘obviously further decisions to be taken’ before Australian forces commit to combat action.
I have to warn the Australian people that should this preparation and deployment extend into combat operations, that this could go on for quite some time
Haines’s family issues a statement following his death. The aid worker, who spent 12 years with the Royal Air Force and served with the United Nations, has two daughters – Bethany, 17, and Athea, four, who lives with his Croatian second wife, Dragana. His brother:
David was like so very many of us, just another bloke. Born in 1970 to parents who loved us both, our childhood was centred around our family. He was, in the right mood, the life and soul of the party and on other times the most stubborn irritating pain in the ass. He would probably say the same about me. David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion. David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair. He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.
The hostage threatened by ISIS in its videotaped execution of British aid worker Haines is identified as 47-year-old Alan Henning, a taxi driver from the northwest of England. Friends of Henning who were also captured but later released say an aid convoy they were traveling with was stopped by masked gunmen after crossing the Turkish border and Henning was separated from the others. His disappearance has previously been kept secret by his family at the advice of the British Foreign Office (FCO) while negotiations are made for his release.
Pope Francis says that conflicts around the globe represent a third World War. During a Mass held at Italy’s largest war memorial, a Fascist-era monument where 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried, the pontiff appears to be referring to the recent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and Africa. The homily:
Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep … War is madness. Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction … War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying. Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology.
Kerry says the U.S. is not fighting a war against ISIS, but is engaged in a counterterrorism campaign. Commenting after Obama’s primetime speech indicates the government is considering expanding airstrikes into Syria:
Look, we’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order. And counterterrorism operations can take a long time, they go on. I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action
The leaders of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf Cooperation Council – the alliance of Sunni Arab Gulf nations that includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE – sign a document called the stating that they have formally Obama’s coalition against ISIS (full text here). The Jeddah Communique:
The ministers representing states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the United States declared their shared commitment to stand united against the threat posed by all terrorism, including the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), to the region and the world … The participants resolved to strengthen their support for the new Iraqi Government in its efforts to unite all Iraqis in combatting ISIL and discussed a strategy to destroy ISIL wherever it is, including in both Iraq and Syria.
Sharrouf tweets a photo apparently showing his seven-year-old son holding the decapitated head of a Syrian soldier. Caption:
That’s my boy
In the photographs featuring Sharrouf and his son the heads are blackened and bloated, having been dead for a week.
Al-Nusra Front militants release all 45 of the Fijian UN Disengagement Observer Forces they have been holding captive after abducting them from the Syrian Golan Heights two weeks earlier. UN statement:
at 1430lcl 45 Fiji @UNPeacekeeping were released & handed over 2 UNDOF at pos 80. All r in good condition. More details later.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) September 11, 2014
Austrian authorities are concerned that 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic and 15-year-old Sabina Selimovic are inspiring other Austrian teens to join extremist groups after the pair allegedly ran away from their homes in Vienna to join ISIS. Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits says authorities are noticing an increase in such incidents after a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old are detained attempting to leave the country, apparently to travel to Syria. Marakovits:
If we can catch them before they leave we have the chance to work with their parents and other institutions to bring the youngsters out of the sphere of influence that prompted them to act in this way the first place. Once they have left the country, even if they then changed their minds, it is then almost impossible to get them back.
The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons says it has ‘compelling confirmation’ that chlorine gas was used in fighting between regime forces and rebels in three rebel-held northern villages earlier this year. It says chlorine – a toxic gas that is not specifically classified as a chemical weapon – was used ‘systematically and repeatedly’ in fighting in the villages of Talmanes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zeta. As chlorine is not strictly classified as a chemical weapon, the government is not required to report stockpiles of the gas. The Assad government and rebel groups have both accused each other of using chlorine in the villages.
First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.
The U.S. personnel deployed to Iraq in June have completed their mission of supporting the security forces now that the country has formed a new government, and an additional 475 servicemembers will be sent to provide training, intelligence and equipment to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. The U.S. will also support the development of National Guard units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.
Congress must authorize assistance to Syrian opposition:
In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.
The U.S. will chair an international summit under the UN banner to mobilize international support and to provide humanitarian aid to Sunni and Shia Muslims as well as religious minorities:
Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off [ISIS’s] funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East.
The strategy depends on engagement with the international community and support from the U.S.’s coalition partners:
Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity. And in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria, to drive these terrorists from their lands.
Congressional support will be welcomed:
My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL, but I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.
The conflict will not be another Iraq war:
It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.
The Obama administration says he will ask Congress to quickly authorize training and arming Syrian opposition forces in his prime-time speech on his anti-ISIS strategy due Wednesday night in Washington. The President will push forward on other areas of the anti-ISIS strategy without formal approval from lawmakers, potentially including widening airstrikes in Iraq and possibly expanding the air campaign to Syria. Following an hour-long meeting with congressional leaders, the White House says Obama told them he ‘has the authority he needs to take action,’ but will still welcome action from action from Congress that would…
…aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat.
Austrian authorities detain two girls attempting to leave the country to join extremist groups in the Middle East. The girls are aged 16 and 14, and their parents are apparently of Iraqi origin. They are caught when the mother of a third friend who was supposed to be traveling with them becomes suspicious about the amount of luggage her daughter is packing. Police are now hoping to find out how they became radicalised, and whether anybody helped them plan their trip to Syria via Turkey.
Ban says Assad can participate in the international coalition being assembled to fight ISIS by seeking a political solution to the crisis in Syria:
He (Assad) can play a role through ending the crisis as soon as possible and engaging in political dialog.
He says that agreement is important on outside intervention in Syria, but stops short of saying that airstrikes against ISIS would need approval from Assad:
I know that some leading countries are trying to discuss the matter, and the position of the U.N. will be declared at the suitable time. But it is important that the international community is united and shows strong support for any action that has to be taken to root out this terrorism.
Saudi Arabia will host a summit to discuss the regional threat of terrorism on Sept. 11, inviting representatives from the U.S., Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and member states of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A statement from the Kingdom:
The meeting will tackle the issue of terrorism in the region and the extremist organizations that stand behind it and the means of addressing it.
An ISIS propaganda video shows at least three MIG-21 fighter jets captured in the seizure of al-Taqba airbase. The footage obtained by CNN shows fighters displaying the ISIS flag above the captured jets at the base, which was seized around two weeks earlier. The jets are not shown in the air, however CNN Arabic reports that several pilots were captured along with their planes and helicopters at al-Tabqa. It says a tweet from ISIS claims they are forcing the prisoners to train militants to fly the stolen aircraft.
An investigation by ABC’s 7:30 program identifies 33-year-old Mohammad Ali Baryalei from Sydney as Australia’s most senior ISIS member. Baryalei is from an aristocratic Afghan family that came to Australia as refugees as a child, and has worked as a security guard in King’s Cross and made a brief appearance as an extra on the true crime show Underbelly. Police say that in 2013 he traveled to Syria to fight with extremist groups and has since become the top recruiter of Australians to ISIS, involved in its operational command in Syria and Iraq as a facilitator for Australians traveling to join jihad. Baryalei in an intercepted phone call with his handler in Sydney:
Four brothers coming this week. They are leaving Australia. Going to try to get them by the weekend. Abu Qaqa is the tall one that was doing Dawah with you. … The brothers yesterday, they were crying, affected, none of them wanted to stay in this country one second.