Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the infamous leader of the terrorist group Daesh (banned in Russia), who has long been deemed dead, is likely alive and is hiding in the Middle Euphrates River Valley between Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Combined Joint Task Force chief Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters from Baghdad that the Daesh leader may be somewhere in the Middle Euphrates River Valley between Iraq and Syria, but indicated that the fact is yet to be proved.
“That’s just an educated guess made after doing this for a year and scratching off the list [of places al-Baghdadi has not been found]; he’s not in Mosul, he is not in Talafar, he is not in Raqqa.”
Townsend explained there were “indicators in intelligence” that al-Baghdadi is alive and that coalition forces are looking for him.
The whereabouts of the Daesh top militant have been unknown for a quite long time. The Russian Defense Ministry in June said Baghdadi had been likely eliminated as a result of a Russian Aerospace Forces strike in Raqqa in late May. It noted that it was in the process of confirming the information through various channels.
Syria’s Al Sumaria News broadcaster also reported ealier in the summer that Daesh confirmed Baghdadi’s death.
However, the US National Counterterrorism Center director has put the claims into a question, saying there were no indications of Baghdadi’s death.
Al-Baghdadi appeared in the media for the first time in 2014 when he declared the creation of a caliphate in the Middle East. Since then, the media several times reported about the death of Daesh leader, though the information has never been confirmed.