A Kurdish source with direct access to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi provided the U.S. with intelligence, including his used underwear and a blood sample, the head of the Kurdish forces said Monday.
General Mazloum Abdi of the Syrian Democratic Forces told NBC News’s Richard Engel that his intelligence service’s informant passed along information useful for the U.S. mission to kill the ISIS leader.
He said this also included information on the room-by-room layout of al-Baghdadi’s hideout, the number of guards protecting him and tunnels around al-Baghdadi’s compound.
The informant, who Abdi described as one of al-Baghdadi’s security advisers, left the scene with U.S. forces after the raid, Abdi told NBC News.
He gave used underwear and a sample of blood to prove his access to al-Baghdadi this summer. U.S. intelligence tested the samples and obtained a positive DNA match for the ISIS leader.
A Kurdish official told NBC News the source took the underwear about three months ago and the blood sample about one month ago.
Abdi also celebrated the success of the mission in a tweet, tagging the president.
For five months there has been joint intel cooperation on the ground and accurate monitoring, until we achieved a joint operation to kill Abu Bakir al-Bagdadi.
— Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي (@MazloumAbdi) October 27, 2019
The Kurdish forces, who assisted the U.S. in fighting ISIS, said Sunday that they are retreating from the Syrian-Turkish border after Turkey launched an offensive against them following Trump’s announcement that U.S. troops would leave northern Syria.
U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle have criticized Trump’s decision to remove troops, saying the U.S. was abandoning its Kurdish allies.