What’s more remarkable is that as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces concluded that they were being betrayed by Trump, they nonetheless continued to track al-Baghdadi and work closely with their U.S. counterparts in the operation that killed him.

Kurdish spies began to focus on al-Baghdadi’s location last spring, after the last Islamic State stronghold in Syria fell. “We began to investigate the presence of Baghdadi, where he was located, in March,” said Ilham Ahmed, the president of the Syrian Democratic Council, in an interview Sunday. “Our intelligence units were always following his movements. They were in a high-level coordination with American intelligence.”

Ahmed said the chaos of the initial Turkish invasion did not stop Kurdish spies in the anti-terrorism unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces from continuing to gather and analyze information gleaned about Baghdadi’s location. The New York Times reported that the initial tip about al-Baghdadi’s location came in the summer, following the arrest of one of his couriers and one of his wives.