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Eli Lake

Did Turkey Know Where Baghdadi Was Hiding?

Some U.S. intelligence analysts have their suspicions.

Did Turkey see this coming?

Did Turkey see this coming?

Photographer: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP

As U.S. intelligence analysts comb through electronic and paper documents seized last weekend from the lair of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, one question is foremost on their minds: How was the Islamic State leader able to find refuge in a Syrian province secured by the Turkish military and its proxy forces?

Three U.S. national security officials told me that they want to know more about Turkey’s knowledge of Baghdadi’s whereabouts. One important task for the team now going through the material seized in the Baghdadi raid and another raid that killed organization’s spokesman, Abul Hassan al-Muhajir, is to map out the relationship between Turkey’s intelligence service and Islamic State.