The woman who ran ISIS‘s sex slavery network played a key role in the CIA hunt for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it has been revealed.
Nisrine Assad Ibrahim, who is known as Umm Sayyaf, helped the intelligence agency and Kurdish forces in their efforts to track down the terrorist – pointing out safe houses, hideouts and where he could be in Mosul.
Nisrine Assad Ibrahim, who is known as Umm Sayyaf helped the CIA and Kurdish intelligence search for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured)
Timeline of terror: How Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi rose through the ranks of extremist group
1971: Born in Iraq, believed to be in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad
2003: US invades Iraq. Baghdadi is believed to be working as a cleric at a mosque in Samarra
2004-2008: Baghdadi, then known as Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry, was held at the Camp Bucca detention centre by the US, accused of being an al-Qaeda leader. Experts dispute whether he was affiliated with the organisation before he was detained, or became radicalised in prison
2010: Baghdadi becomes leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, after the former leader blows himself up when cornered by US forces
2011: The US official designated Baghdadi a terrorist and puts a $10million bounty on his head
2013: Under Baghdadi’s leadership ISI, as it was then known, merges with the Syrian terror group al-Nusra and becomes ISIS
2014: After seizing a vast swathe of territory across Iraq and Syria in a sudden uprising, Baghdadi makes a speech at the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul declaring a Caliphate and rebrands ISIS as Islamic State. This marks the last time was seen in public
2016: Baghdadi released an audio recording as the battle for Mosul starts in November, urging his follower to kill ‘unbelievers’ threatening the city
2017: Russia claims to have killed Baghdadi in an airstrike on Raqqa, but fails to provide proof
2018: Voice recording released of Baghdadi reportedly addressing his followers as ISIS is pushed out of Syria and Iraq by US-backed forces
2019: Only his second ever video appearance released, praising the Sri Lankan Easter bombings and vowing revenge for ISIS’ defeat
The 29-year-old was detained by US special forces during a raid in the ISIS-held Syrian city of Deir Ezzor in May, 2015, during which her terrorist husband Abu Sayaff was killed.
Senior defence experts said at the time Umm Sayyaf was cooperating with US officials and had provided the names and communication details of several senior ISIS commanders.
But the full extent of the Syrian’s collaboration has only now come to light, with her late husband’s closeness to al-Baghdadi having given her a good understanding of the terrorist leader, as well as rare access to ISIS meetings.
Umm Sayyaf was reluctant to help authorities to begin with from her cell in northern Iraq.
Yet a year after her capture, she helped the Americans with maps and photographs and even pinpointed a building in Mosul al-Baghdadi could be in.
But the US military – who later said he probably was there – did not bomb the house for fear of civilian casualties and due to heavy air traffic, Kurdish officials claimed.
Umm Sayyaf told the Guardian: ‘I told them where the house was. I knew he’d been there because it was one of the houses that was provided for him and one of the places he liked the most.’
She said of the Americans: ‘They were very polite and wore civilian clothes. I showed them everything I knew.’
The jihadi wife said she often saw the world’s most wanted man record propaganda videos in her home.
‘He used to do that in our sitting room in Taji [central Iraq]. My husband was the media chief then and al-Baghdadi would visit often.’
Umm Sayyaf helped the US and Kurdish forces and identified a safe house her aunt owned that al-Baghdadi was expected in.
She said: ‘Her name is Saadia Ibrahim.
‘Two of her sons have died with Isis. And she has been with al-Baghdadi since the beginning.
‘She runs the safe house network for him. She is the sister of my father.’
al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance, in 2014
She said al-Baghdadi often went to see her in Syria when they lived in the town of Shadadah, where American aid worker Kayla Mueller was held for a month in 2014 before her death in Raqqa in February 2015.
Umm Sayyaf faces the death penalty after a court ruling in Erbil, Iraq, where she is being held by Kurdish intelligence.
But human rights lawyer – and wife to George Clooney – Amal Clooney called last month for Umm Sayyaf to be transferred to the US to face justice for her crimes against women – including those against Iraq’s Yazidi minority and Mueller.
Amal Clooney (pictured speaking during a Security Council meeting on sexual violence at United Nations headquarters on April 23) called for Sayyaf to be transferred to the US
Clooney, who represents Yazidi women and girls who were held in Umm Sayyaf’s house, told a UN Security Council meeting on sexual violence in conflict that the Yazidis were raped by ISIS men.
She said that Mueller ‘was held in brutal conditions for over 18 months and raped repeatedly’ by the militant group’s leader, al-Baghdadi.
‘Umm Sayyaf showed no solidarity with her fellow females. She locked them in a room, instigated their beatings and put makeup on them to ‘prepare’ them for rape,’ Clooney added.
Clooney called last month for Umm Sayyaf to be transferred to the US to face justice for her crimes against women – including those from Iraq’s Yazidi minority and Mueller (pictured)
Yet Umm Sayyaf strenuously denies this.
She said: ‘Whatever he [al-Baghdadi] did did not involve me.
‘Sometimes he would come for a few hours. Sometimes he would stay longer. It was just a normal house, and I provided him and my husband tea.’
Kurdish intelligence officers admitted Umm Sayyaf had been useful, adding she had given them a clear picture of al-Baghdadi’s family and the people around him.
But they said they would not release her as she would return to ISIS.
The special forces operation that caught Sayyah and killed husband Abu marked a turning point in the war on terror which finally came to an end in March in the remote Baghouz, Syria.
With Abu Sayaff believed to have been ISIS ‘oil minister’ and the man responsible for bringing a huge chunk of ISIS’ £2million a day income, his death stemmed the slow of cash to the now depleted terror group.
Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?
It was Camp Bucca – later dubbed ‘the University of Jihad’ – where Baghdadi came of age as a jihadist
Born Ibrahim Awad al-Badri in 1971, the passionate football fan came from modest beginnings in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
His school results prevented him studying law and his poor eyesight stopped him joining the army, so he moved to the Baghdad district of Tobchi to study Islam.
After US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003, he founded his own insurgent organisation but never carried out major attacks.
When he was arrested and held in a US detention facility in southern Iraq in February 2004, he was still very much a lower tier jihadist.
But it was Camp Bucca – later dubbed ‘the University of Jihad’ – where Baghdadi came of age as a jihadist.
He was released at the end of 2004 for lack of evidence. Iraqi security services arrested him twice subsequently, in 2007 and 2012, but let him go because they did not know who he was.
In 2005, the father-of-five from two different wives pledged allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the brutal leader of Iraq’s Al-Qaeda franchise.
Zarqawi was killed by an American drone strike in 2006, and after his successor was also eliminated, Baghdadi took the helm in 2010.
He revived the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), expanded into Syria in 2013 and declared independence from Al-Qaeda.
In the following years, Baghdadi’s Islamic State group captured swathes of territory, set up a brutal system of government, and inspired thousands to join the ‘caliphate’ from abroad.
Baghdadi was raised in a family divided between a religious clan and officers loyal to Saddam’s secular Baath party.
Years later, his jihadist group incorporated ex-Baathists, capitalising on the bitterness many officers felt after the American move to dissolve the Iraqi army in 2003.
He is thought to have had three wives in total, Iraqi Asma al-Kubaysi, Syrian Isra al-Qaysi and another, more recently, from the Gulf.
The terrorist has been accused of repeatedly raping girls and women he kept as ‘sex slaves’, including a pre-teen Yazidi girl and US aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was subsequently killed.