DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY - Turkish prosecutors are seeking the indictment of the widow of an Islamic State (IS) fighter, whom they accuse of making bombs with her late husband for the terror group in Syria, local authorities told VOA.
Prosecutors are asking the court for a 15-year prison sentence for Afra Shaar, a Syrian national and widow of Faysal Selimoglu, a deceased Turkish IS fighter. No trial has been held yet.
According to Turkish law enforcement authorities, Shaar was arrested in December 2017 during a raid on her in-laws’ house in the city of Diyarbakir, in southeast Turkey, after someone told authorities about her whereabouts and her affiliation with Selimoglu.
Shaar confirmed that her husband was involved in terror activities and was part of the Islamic State terror group. She claimed, however, she was not involved with her husband’s activities. She told authorities she was an English teacher.
During the raid, authorities recovered a number of cellphones and phone calling cards, two computer tablets, a laptop and a computer. They also found two digital documents containing farewell letters from her deceased husband.
Police also reportedly found the couple’s photos. In one of the photos, Shaar is seen standing next to a man holding an AK-47. The man appears to be her husband, Selimoglu.
Prosecutors said they found IS symbols on her cellphone and considered that sufficient evidence to put her on trial as a suspected member of the IS terror group.
During her interrogation, she told authorities she would rather target the Syrian soldiers who killed her husband than carry out a terror attack inside Turkey.
Shaar told the investigators that she met her husband in 2014 in Syria through a mutual friend. After they got married, they moved to Diyarbakir and lived there for several months before returning to Syria to live under IS rule in the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate.
When asked why she would want to live under IS rule, Shaar said she had to accompany her husband, who wanted to go to Syria and fight for IS.
Fled to Deir el-Zour
In Syria, the couple reportedly settled down in the city of Tabqa, in northeast Syria, 55 kilometers (about 34 miles) west of Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State.
Tabqa was declared liberated from IS by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in May 2017, as part of the Operation Wrath of Euphrates.
Shaar reportedly told investigators that when fighting neared the city, the couple, along with other jihadi families, had to withdraw to the city of Deir el-Zour, in eastern Syria, in April 2017. She said it was there that her husband started making bombs.
Her husband was allegedly killed during operations by pro-Syrian regime forces to recapture the city in November 2017.
Shaar told authorities that following her husband’s death, she returned to her in-laws’ house in Turkey and wanted to settle there permanently.