Syrian Observatory claims to have 'confirmed information' that ISIS leader is dead

(Social Media Website via Reuters TV/File Photo)A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would have been his first public appearance, at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video.

Just days after the Iraqi army liberated the last sectors of Mosul, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that it "confirmed information" that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed.

"(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank, in [Isis territory] in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor," Rami Abdulrahman, the director of the British-based war monitoring group, told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Pentagon, however, stated that it has no information to corroborate the reports, and there has been no statement about Baghdadi's death from ISIS news outlet Amaq.

"We take any report of this nature with a large dose of salt," said Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump. "We will verify it. We will look at the intelligence available... and we will give a statement when we have the requisite facts," he added.

The Syrian Observatory's sources did not indicate when or how the ISIS leader supposedly died, except that he has supposedly been living in the Deir Ezzor area for the last three months.

Kurdish and Iraqi sources have also said that they could not corroborate the report. But SOHR has been reputed to have a credible track record of reporting on the Syrian conflict.

There have been several rumors about Baghdadi's death since he made his only public appearance when he declared the caliphate in Mosul in 2014.

In June, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that Baghdadi and several other high-profile ISIS leaders have been killed in an air strike, but no evidence was provided to back up the claim.

According to The Independent, the U.S. government has put up a $25 million reward for Baghdadi's capture, the same amount offered for al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Air strikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria have killed several ISIS leaders including Abu Ali al-Anbari, Baghdadi's deputy; the group's "minister of war," Abu Omar al-Shishani, who is also a close military adviser to Baghdadi; and Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, one of its most prominent and longest-serving leaders.

Baghdadi's death, if confirmed, would come as one of the biggest blows to the jihadist group which is rapidly losing territories in Iraq and Syria.

Last week, the Iraqi army officially declared Mosul liberated from ISIS, marking the destruction of one-half of the militants' caliphate.

Go to the Home Page

Top News

Inside Christian Times