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Elusive figure of Syrian war dies with secrets in Turkey

Heysem Topalca, a fugitive whose name was implicated in some of the most controversial chapters of Ankara’s Syria policy due to his alleged role in the Turkish intelligence operations in Syria, has died, taking all his secrets to the grave.
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Heysem Topalca, a fugitive who allegedly played a key role in the Turkish intelligence operations in Syria before vanishing into thin air in 2015, has died at the age of 54, leaving several unanswered questions behind.

Topalca, notoriously known as “Hytham Qassap'' or “Hytham the butcher,” and two other passengers in his car were killed in a traffic accident in the central Anatolian province of Konya on Feb 10. Topalca’s name was embroiled in various controversies from his alleged involvement in Ankara's weapons transfers to armed Syrian groups to accusations that he played a role in two separate terror attacks inside Turkey and that he helped radical jihadi groups to supply chemical agents. In 2015, a Turkish court sentenced him to 12 years in jail for terrorism-related charges. He has supposedly been “wanted” by the Turkish authorities since then.

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