A conflict is still going on, on the identity of the perpetrator of the November 13 explosion which took place in Istiklal Street in Istanbul city center. The explosion killed six people. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, the name of the perpetrator is Ahlam al-Bashir, and she holds Syrian citizenship.
Official Turkish Version:
On 14 November, the Istanbul General Security Directorate announced that the bomber had confessed during the investigation to belonging to the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“The terrorist received instructions to carry out the operation from the terrorist organization’s center in the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab,” the security directorate said in a statement.
Ahlam al-Bashir was born in 1999 in Syria and confirmed during her interrogation by the police that she got to know about the Kurdish organizations through her friend, “Ahmed A.” in 2017.
On July 27, she got to know wanted fugitive Bilal Hassan, on the instructions of the group’s member nicknamed Hajji in Syria, and came to Turkey and started working in a sewing workplace, owned by Farhat Habash, in the Esenler area in order to camouflage.
The suspect, “Yasser K.”, took her to the Beyoglu district on the explosion day, and after it, she went to Esenler by taxi, and then Ahmed Jarkass moved her to the house where she was arrested in the Kucukcekmece area.
Wanted fugitive Bilal Hassan came with al-Bashir to Turkey and acted as husband and wife for 4 months, and on the explosion day, both al-Bashir and the suspect “Yasser K.” were moved to Taksim and returned home.
Following the incident, Hassan was smuggled by Ammar Jerkass to Edirne province in preparation for smuggling to Bulgaria. The search continues for Bilal Hassan, who went missing after arriving in Edirne.
Brothers Ammar and Ahmed Jarkass
Ahmed Jerkass moved al-Bashir from the Esenler district to his mother’s house in Kucukcekmece.
He was tasked with transporting Bashir to Greece after carrying out the attack.
When Turkish police arrested Ahlam al-Bashir, Ahmed Jerkass was not at home but was later arrested in a successful operation.
The older brother, Ammar Jarkas, took the other fugitive suspect, Bilal Hassan, after the attack, to the Edirne in preparation for smuggling him to Bulgaria.
Police also detained the brothers’ mother after suspect Ahlam al-Bashir was arrested at her home.
Yasser is the one who brought Ahlam al-Bashir and Bilal Hassan to a place near Taksim Square in Beyoğlu.
After the attacker got out of the car, Yasser and Bilal Hassan returned to the Esenler area again.
After carrying out the attack, Ahlam al-Bashir called him and told her that the police were stationed everywhere and I could not come.
He is the owner of the house and workplace where Ahlam Al-Bashir and Bilal Hassan lived for 4 months.
Habash received instructions from a senior PKK official “Hajji” to house Bashir and Hassan.
Following his arrest, Habash confessed in the investigation to links to the PKK.
The member nicknamed Hussam
Hussam, a member of the PKK and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), arrived in Istanbul a year before the explosion.
Hussam cooperated with al-Bashir, who carried out the explosion, and the suspects who helped her, during the preparation phase of the terrorist operation. He fled to Syria before being arrested in the operation that began after the explosion, as Anadolu Agency reported that Turkish police arrested the suspect, “Hussam”, late Wednesday evening in the Syrian city of Azaz, which is currently under the control of the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition. He was taken to Istanbul for questioning.
Ahlam al-Bashir said in her testimony at the police station that she received the order to carry out the attack from a senior PKK official named Hajji.
Bashir admitted that she was linked to a senior official in the intelligence unit of the PKK and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in Syria’s Manbij region known as Hajji.
Over the past few days, several stories have been released by Syrian activists on social media. MENA Observatory lists these narratives that, like Turkish, have remained lacking in evidence
Ahlam al-Bashir, a Palestinian resident of Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, met Ahmed Mardali, a resident of Amuda city in Hasaka countryside, who worked in Damascus. Al-Mardali traveled to Damascus for work, and was married to the daughter of Muhammad Saleh, who sells pistachios at the public park in Qamishli.
Ahmed got to know Ahlam in Damascus, and she got pregnant with him in an illegal relationship, then took her with him to Qamishli and rented her a small room in Hilaliyah. The room belonged to Kamal, who works as a first assistant in the recruitment of Qamishli. After that, Ahmed Mardali’s wife knew what her husband had done, so she pressured Ahlam and her husband and succeeded in severing the relationship between them.
The news indicates that Ahlam lived in Qamishli from 2012 until 2013, after which she communicated with her family in Yarmouk camp in order to allow her to return to their home with her daughter, which is what happened, where she lived there for nearly a year, then returned again to Qamishli, but due to the difficult living conditions, she was forced to move to Amuda city and worked as a housekeeper for Al-Dabbagh for nearly four years, after which she moved to Aleppo, where she settled in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood for a short time. Before settling in the city of Kobani, and from there, her news was cut off until her name and photos were spread when the Istanbul explosion occurred.
Al Bashir is a Palestinian resident of Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. Her brother, Muhammad al-Bashir, is a group commander at “Al-Amshat” and is affiliated with the so-called “Abu Fayyad Al-Hadidi”, her brother brought her from Idlib in coordination with the Al-Julani Commission and then brought her from Afrin to Turkey.
According to the story, the perpetrator of the Taksim explosion, Ahlam al-Bashir, was born on April 10, 1999, according to her identity data, but in fact, she was born in 2002 in Aleppo, and her brother Muhammad was an ISIS member.
Some activists circulated information that the so-called “Ahlam al-Bashir” is from the (Obeid) clan in the village of (Abu Hanaya) in the Khafsa district / eastern countryside of Aleppo. We contacted sources in the area and no one confirmed this information.
“The Istanbul explosion is a provocative act carried out by the Turkish occupation state, in order to pave the way for war against us. We did a lot of research and concluded that the attack was carried out by Syrian opposition groups operating under Turkish control. We have proved that the woman captured by planting the bomb comes from an ISIS-linked family, three of her brothers died fighting for ISIS, one died in Raqqa, another in Manbij, the third in Iraq, and another brother is a leader in the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition in Afrin. Ahlam al-Bashir was married to three different ISIS fighters, stressing that Ahlam hails from the city of Aleppo and we have nothing to do with her at all, and this is not our policy.” According to the SDF commander in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor on November 22.
There is a widespread skepticism campaign in the Turkish narrative, which varied between accusing the government of carrying out a “play” and exploiting the event in electoral propaganda.
Trying to attach the accusation to the Syrians, the SDF, or even the Syrian opposition may be a prelude to shifts in the relationship between the Erdogan regime and the Syrian regime, these transformations may include launching a military campaign against the Autonomous Administration in northeastern Syria with the approval of the regime, or even accusing parties in the Syrian opposition in preparation for withdrawing the Turkish cover from it, thus leaving it up for grabs in front of the regime and the Russians.
It is illogical for the SDF or the Kurds in Syria to provide justification to Turkey in launching a military operation that Turkey has been threatening to carry out for months, especially in light of the Turkish-European rapprochement against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and expectations of European “softness” towards any Turkish military action.
The operation came a few weeks after the change in the map of factional control north of Aleppo, where the region has witnessed since October 11, 2022, a significant change in terms of alignments and the nature of geographical control, against the backdrop of a new wave of fighting that is the most violent in the region, and therefore Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham became part of the factional scene north of Aleppo, after it was banned from entering the area, and this is the biggest change that may be a prelude to Turkey’s use of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in confronting the SDF.
The features of the suspect Ahlam Al -Bashir do not say that she is Syria, and the conflict increases her personality ambiguity, especially since despite about two weeks since the explosion, no Syrian has identified her, and her family – which is also still unknown – did not issue any statement to clarify what happened. No proof of the validity of the aforementioned stories was provided. However, what is certain here is that the accused is just a victim who was blackmailed by a network working for one of the following parties: Turkish intelligence and the poles of the “deep state” in Turkey, the PKK, or even external parties.