Published: Mon, June 12, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Daesh leader Baghdadi reported killed: media reports

Daesh leader Baghdadi reported killed: media reports

This undated frame grab from video posted online Saturday, June 10, 2017, by the Aamaq News Agency, a media arm of the Islamic State group, shows a mosque that was damaged by bombardment by the US -led coalition and USA -backed fighters in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.

However, this is not the first time al-Baghadi has been reported dead and many experts are skeptical of the latest claims. Bashar Al Assad's government would benefit from reports of Al-Baghdadi's death - even if they were not true - as the regime insists it's trying to crack down on ISIS militants as part of its crushing of the rebel insurgency.

Raqqa 24, an organization of Syrina activists, have confirmed that airstrikes in Raqqa killed at least seven civilians but made no mention of Al-Baghdadi.

Baghdadi has a $25 million bounty on his head. On Tuesday, the SDF announced the official start of the operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from Islamic State's (ISIS) militants.

Baghdadi does not use phones and has a handful number of approved couriers to communicate with his two main aides, Iyad al-Obaidi, his defence minister, and Ayad al-Jumaili, in charge of security.

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The city has always been seen as a prize by multiple parties to the Syrian conflict, including the Assad regime, Russia, Turkey and the US-led coalition bombing Daesh since 2014. There is also a possibility that the ISIS chief has taken shelter in the desert outside of northern Iraq in the city of Mosul, according to the Daily Mail. He narrowly escaped capture recently, when Iraqi forces took back Mosul.

In January 2017, there were reports that Al-Baghdadi had been "critically injured" in air strikes in Iraq.

The SDF, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, has spent months encircling the city. "He is still considered the leader of ISIL and many continue to fight for him; that hasn't changed drastically", he said, using one of Islamic State's acronyms. "It is only a matter of time before Baghdadi himself meets the same fate", Mr Tillerson said.

ISIS' de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria, came under increased military pressure from US -backed forces last weekend, with airstrikes destroying some of the extremist group's military and oil infrastructure, and Syrian opposition forces capturing a northwestern neighborhood of the city.

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