Prime Minister’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “AKP government has helped us a lot” since the war in Syria began, an Islamic State fighter told a Turkish journalist.

The Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor of MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) exclusively provided The Jerusalem Post with a report on Tuesday based on an interview with the fighter, who is in Ankara for medical care, by journalist Deniz Kahraman from the left-liberal Aydinlik newspaper and the OdaTV website, in which the fighter says Turkey played a crucial role in the Sunni group’s spectacular advances.

“Turkey paved the way for us. Had Turkey not shown such understanding for us, the Islamic State would not be in its current place. It [Turkey] showed us affection. Large number of our mujahedeen [jihadis] received medical treatment in Turkey,” he said.

“We do not have the support of Saudi Arabia, but many Saudi families who believe in jihad do assist us. But anyhow, we will no longer need it, soon,” he said.

“We will build the Islamic state in the territories from Tigris to Jordan and Palestine and to Lebanon. Sunni Law will rule,” he added.

The Islamic State gunman discussed his personal history, how he has been fighting with jihadist groups for 12 years, first taking part in combat against the Americans in Fallujah, Iraq.

He told the Turkish journalist how he had established a relationship with al-Qaida in Iraq and trained in small groups, learning to fight and gather intelligence, and about Islamic jurisprudence and politics.

“I joined the system of cells in 2010 and moved into Syria in 2011. At that time, all groups fighting against Assad were joining forces. We fought on multiple fronts with different groups and under different commanders,” he said, according to MEMRI.

“But when the lack of faith among the Free Syrian Army became apparent, we changed our paths,” he said. “When ISIS [precursor to the Islamic State group] declared itself, we started fighting under its banner.

I participated in 12 operations against the Kurds, and personally directed the three raids into Kamishli [in northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey].”

The fighter said the intelligence services of many countries “are making attempts to contact us,” adding that France, Germany and the Netherlands have been especially interested of late.

“Rather than being interested in what we do in Syria or Iraq, these countries want to learn about our mujahideens’ activities in their countries,” he said.

The jihadi added that the Islamic State has mujahideen from 21 countries, not all Muslim ones, including from Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

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