Turkey adds ISIL spokesman and five others to al-Qaeda sanctions list

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The Turkish government has added six individuals to its blacklist, including the spokesperson of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in line with a U.N. decision updating the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee’s list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions.

The related decision by the Cabinet went into force after being published in the Aug. 24 edition of the Official Gazette. Accordingly, a decision dated Sept. 30, 2013, concerning the seizure of assets of persons and legal entities that have been listed by the U.N. Security Council resolutions was updated, with the six individuals being added.

In line with the U.N. Security Council’s decision made on Aug. 15, the six people will be subject to an international travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo. They include ISIL spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, an Iraqi described by U.N. experts as one of the group’s “most influential emirs” and close to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The U.N. resolution also blacklisted Said Arif, a former Algerian army officer who escaped house arrest in France in 2013 and joined the al-Nusra Front in Syria, and Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al-Charekh of Saudi Arabia, dubbed “a leading terrorist Internet propagandist” who heads the group in Syria’s Latakia district.

Hamid Hamad Hamid al-Ali and Hajjaj bin Fahd al-Ajmi, both from Kuwait, were sanctioned for allegedly providing financial support to the al-Nusra Front – Ajmi’s fundraising includes at least one Twitter campaign, according to UN experts – while Abdelrahman Mouhamad Zafir al-Dabidi al-Jahani of Saudi Arabia was named because he runs al-Nusra Front’s foreign fighter networks.

The Aug. 15 resolution that aims to weaken the ISIL and al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the al-Nusra Front, was unanimously adopted by the 15-member Council.

The decision by the Turkish government is notable given that jihadist militants have been retaining 49 people from the Turkish Consulate-General in Mosul, including 46 Turkish nationals, as captives since June 11. The hostages were moved to another location in the city in early July, according to Turkish diplomats. Officials have not dismissed the possibility that ISIL is holding the Turkish citizens as “human shields,” as the group is said to have not so far presented any specific demands for their release.

Within days after the abduction in Mosul, in line with government officials’ statement that the media should not report on the abduction in a way which could provoke the militants, a local court in Ankara issued a June 16 gag order ruling that “all kinds of print, visual and Internet media are banned from writing and commenting on the situation” until the Turkish citizens in the hands of ISIL are safely rescued. On June 17, the Turkish media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), delivered the court’s decision to all media executives, saying the ban was effective immediately.

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