News and Views
Photo: Inside ISIS’s luxury new headquarters: Jihadists set up base in spectacular Syrian mansion they claim to have seized from Qatari Royal Family
- Isis claim the villa belongs to the Qatari royal family, but was abandoned when the terror group approached
- Photographs were shared by Isis media branches under the headline ‘a castle for the tyrants of Qatar in Palmyra’
Islamic State leaders claim to be living in luxury in a vast mansion seized from a billionaire Arab sheikh.
The jihadi group’s social media sites posted photographs of the spectacular mansion, under the headline: ‘A castle for the tyrants of Qatar in Palmyra’.
Aerial snapshots show sprawling gardens surrounding the mansion, in the heart of the Syrian desert.
It is claimed that the real owners – the Qatari royal family – abandoned the villa when Isis closed in.
The leaders of the regime, which took over nearby Palmyra in May, are now said to have set up headquarters in the luxury villa, amid gold-leaf columns and plush furnishings.
One Syrian Twitter user – who claimed to have previously worked inside the palace – posted satellite imagery of the property last December.
He claimed that construction, which began in 2009, ground to a halt due to the Syrian civil war.
He added in a comment that the marble floors inside the villa are the same as those at the holy mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Social media users refer to the villa as Mozeh Palace claiming it was built for Emira Mozeh, the mother of the current Emir of Qatar, the British-educated Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
His son Tamim took over in June 2013 after being educated in the UK at Sherborne School, Harrow and Sandhurst Military Academy.
While not always in line for the title, the boy replaced his own brother as crown prince in 2003.
He continues to outlaw all political parties and govern according to sharia principles. In Qatar, gay people face the death penalty and women are considered second-class citizens.
The Government of Qatar is ambiguous when it comes to Isis support.
According to the country’s official line, Qatar supports the moderate (Sunni) Islamist opposition and has joined the US-led coalition against the terror group.
But there are concerns that funding from ‘private donors’ from Qatar – as well as UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – has contributed to the spread of Isis.