The Hezbollah-linked media said that the leader of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be hiding in one of the districts in the liberated city of Abu Kamal in Syria, according to RIA.
Hezbollah did not elaborate beyond that.
At the same time something is very strange is ongoing in the area of al-Bukamal, according to local sources. As it was reported earlier, Syrian troops are still struggling to secure the area after the Syrian Defense Ministry declared the liberation of the city on November 9.
ISIS reportedly used at least 10 anti-tank guided missiles against pro-government forces in the area. The fact that the terrorist group uses such expensive weapon en masse may confirm that ISIS members defend some VIP of the group.
Furthermore, multiple landings of Russian and Syrian helicopters have been observed in the al-Bukamal area over the last 48 hours. No details are available about the purpose of this move. Most likely, The allies are deploying special operations forces there.
The army and Hezbollah also started evacuating civilians from al-Bukamal. This should help in case of a large-scale search operation for… let’s say al-Baghdadi.
SAA and Hezbollah evacuating civilians from al-Bukamal -temporary- https://t.co/HCehqcEgQ2
— Within Syria (@WithinSyriaBlog) 10 November 2017
In mid-June Russian Defense Ministry said that al-Baghdadi might have been killed in a Russian air strike near Raqqa on May 28. Turkish officials said they have received persistent reports that he is dead, but in late September ISIS published a “new Baghdadi tape” recording in response to the reports.
Baghdadi is believed to have been born in Samarra, north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, in 1971. He was reportedly a cleric in a mosque when the city was invaded by US-led forces in 2003, according to The Sun. While reports differ on when al-Baghdadi was radicalised, it has been suggested that he was brainwashed in Camp Bucca, a US prison in southern Iraq. He was previously the leader of extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq which eventually transformed into ISIS in 2010. Al-Baghdadi’s only known public appearance on video was in 2014 when he delivered a sermon in Mosul, Iraq. The “caliphate” had been declared by al-Baghdadi earlier that year.