Home / world / Report: ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could also be in Syrian metropolis of Boukamal

Report: ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could also be in Syrian metropolis of Boukamal

BEIRUT — A media outlet linked to the Syrian navy mentioned Friday that the chief of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, could also be holed up in an ISIS pocket within the jap city of Boukamal, which authorities forces and their allies recaptured this week earlier than dropping components of it later.

The declare was denied by Syrian opposition activists who mentioned the federal government is attempting to make up for losses it suffered in Boukamal when giant components have been retaken by the extremists once more on Friday.

Officers instructed CBS Information correspondent David Martin they haven’t tracked any indicators that al-Baghdadi has been killed or captured.

The whereabouts of al-Baghdadi should not recognized and if he’s killed or captured it will be one other blow for the group that has misplaced greater than 90 % of lands it as soon as managed in Iraq and Syria the place the group declared a caliphate in June 2014.

Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts and the query of whether or not he’s useless or alive have been a seamless supply of thriller and confusion.

The Syrian Central Navy Media mentioned that, as Syrian troops and their allies performed search operations in Boukamal, they “acquired the data” that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is perhaps “in one of many pockets” within the city. The report didn’t elaborate on how the troopers heard about al-Baghdadi or what they have been doing in regards to the info.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, and Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based opposition activist initially from Syria’s jap province of Deir el-Zour each denied the report that al-Baghdadi is in Boukamal.

Boukamal, ISIS’ final main stronghold in Syria, was taken on Thursday after ISIS militants withdrew from it. Abdurrahman mentioned IS launched a counteroffensive on Boukamal capturing greater than 40 % of the city, principally its northern neighborhoods.

“The combating is ongoing, now near the city’s middle,” Abdurrahman mentioned, including that when ISIS fighters withdrew from Boukamal on Thursday it was a lure they set to hit again at authorities forces and their allies.

Abu Laila mentioned ISIS fighters management most of Boukamal including that authorities claims that al-Baghdadi is within the city is to cowl for his or her losses.

In September, al-Baghdadi launched an audio wherein he urged his followers to burn their enemies all over the place and goal “media facilities of the infidels.” It was his first purported audio in almost a yr.

“Intensify your strikes, one after the following … and make the media facilities of the infidels and their mental battlefields amongst your targets,” Baghdadi purportedly mentioned. “Sustain your jihad and blessed operations … and do not let the crusaders and the apostates take pleasure in peace and tranquility in their very own properties whereas your brethren endure the bombardment, the killing and destruction.”

Al-Baghdadi has solely appeared in public as soon as in 2014 within the northern Iraqi metropolis of Mosul.

Russian officers mentioned in June there was a “excessive chance” that al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian airstrike on the outskirts of the Syrian metropolis of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital that the extremists misplaced final month. U.S. officers later mentioned they believed he was nonetheless alive.

Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts are unknown however he’s believed to be in IS’ dwindling territory in jap Syria. Opposition activists say he’s additionally seemingly someplace within the large desert that stretches towards Iraq.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Related Press contributed to this report.

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