Venerdì, 23 Giugno, 2017

Uncertainty over Islamic State leader's fate after airstrike

Syrian army Russia says 180 IS fighters killed in Syria strikes
Parmenio Sano | 19 Giugno, 2017, 05:35

In a statement posted on Facebook by the Ministry, Russian forces in Syria carried out an airstrike following intelligence information that an Islamic State leader's meeting is being scheduled.

The Defense Ministry said the May 28 air raid that targeted an Islamic State meeting held on the southern outskirts of Raqqa, Syria, also killed about 30 midlevel militant leaders and about 300 other fighters.

The US military was informed by Russian Federation before the attack, the report said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

"The information is that as of the end of last month Baghdadi was in Deir al-Zor, in the area between Deir al-Zor and Iraq, in Syrian territory", he said by phone.

Russian Federation "may have killed" ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to reports.

IS sympathisers typically ignore reports from unofficial IS sources or ridicule them, especially given that Baghdadi's death has been reported several times in the past.

The ministry said the strike came as Islamic State leaders gathered to discuss the group's withdrawal from Raqqa, the group's de facto capital.


The spokesman for the US -led, anti-Islamic State coalition said in a statement Friday that he could not confirm the Russian claim.

ISIS militants have nearly been defeated in the two acclaimed territorial capitals of the group in Syria and Iraq.

US Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said: "We have no information to corroborate those reports". Baghdadi had last released an audio message on November 3 a year ago, urging his followers to keep up the fight for Mosul as they defended the city against a major offensive that had begun weeks earlier. Both attacks would have occurred after al-Baghdadi's alleged killing.

Hoshiyar Zebari, a long-serving former Iraqi foreign minister and now a senior adviser to the government of the Kurdish autonomous region, also told Reuters there was no confirmation of Baghdadi's death.

Russian Federation sent an air force contingent to Syria in September 2015 to shore up President Bashar al-Assad, bombing both IS and other rebel groups opposed to the government.

In Iraq, the US -backed government has been battling to recapture Mosul since October previous year after driving the group out of most of the rest of the territory it had seized.

"According to information which is being checked through various channels, the leader of ISIL (IS) Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was also present at the meeting and was eliminated by the strike".

Both are still under attack by various groups fighting under the cover of air strikes by the US-led coalition.

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