Some Islamic State commanders have sneaked into Turkey from neighbouring Syria as the extremist militia suffers defeats in the war-torn country, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday.
The monitoring group added that an unspecified number of leading Syrian and foreign militants have fled from Islamic State’s former strongholds of al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zour in Syria and crossed the Turkish border during the past few weeks.
“Bribes ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 dollars were paid in order to secure their escape into Turkey.
“They entered with the aid of smugglers from areas controlled by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels in the northern province of Aleppo,’’ the watchdog said without further details.
However, there was no immediate comment in Ankara.
On Tuesday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed militia, declared it had taken full control of al-Raqqa in north-eastern Syria.
Both the SDF forces and Syrian government troops are, meanwhile, pursuing rival campaigns aimed at dislodging Islamic State from Deir al-Zour.
Report says preparations are under way in al-Raqqa for a ceremony due to be conducted on Friday marking the official liberation of the city, once the hub of Islamic State’s self-styled caliphate.
The Saudi daily newspaper Okaz reported that Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan is expected to attend.
According to the report, the Saudi official arrived in al-Raqqa and discussed with the city’s local council the oil-rich kingdom’s role in rebuilding it.
Saudi Arabia is a member of a U.S.-led air campaign that is fighting Islamic State in Syria.