ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is currently hiding in the Homs desert, which is besieged by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies, the Asia Times reported on March 28, citing a Syria source.
According to the source, the terrorist group has been preparing the region, which lays between eastern Homs and western Deir Ezzor, to host Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his senior commanders since 2015.
“In 2015 they brought a lot of weapons [to the Homs desert], which they’d gotten from Mosul. And they secured the route from al-Baghuz. All the high commanders took weapons and money to this area, because it’s impossible to conquer – you can’t seize it with warplanes and you can’t seize it with an army. There aren’t even roads and there are no inhabitants. Just some Bedouins, but no approaches anywhere near the mountains,” the Hong Kong-based outlet quoted the sources as saying.
More than 1,000 fighters are believed to be hiding in the Homs desert. According to the available information, most of these terrorists are not only heavily armed, but also highly experienced.
Hisham al-Hashemi, a Baghdad-based terrorism expert, supported the Syrian source’s claims saying that the terrorist leader could be indeed hiding in the Homs desert.
“Certainly he is still alive, he did not participate in any battle and was not close to any battlefield … The ISIS security detail that guards Baghdadi knows that keeping the Caliph alive is more important than maintaining the Caliphate,” al-Hashemi said.
The Iraqi experts said that al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Al-Badri Al-Samarrai, is suffering from several heath issues, including diabetes. A prominent ISIS commander, who was arrested by the Iraqi intelligence last November, made similar claims.
If al-Baghdadi is indeed hiding in the Homs desert, he will likely end up killed or captured by the SAA and its allies. Last year, the SAA killed the terrorist leaders’ son near the desert region.
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