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ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Was Killed In US Operation In Syria’s Idlib: Reports

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ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Was Killed In US Operation In Syria's Idlib: Reports

Al-Baghdadi

UPDATE: President Trump confirmed that US forces eliminated al-Baghdadi in northwestern Syria.

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It seems that every ‘successful US President’ should defeat own ‘Terrorist #1’.

Late on October 26, eight unidentified military helicopters carried out a series of strikes on positions in the outskirt of the town of Barisha in the Syrian province of Idlib. The town is located near near Turkish border. Early on October 27, Prpesident Donald Trump announced that “something very big” had happened.

Mainstream media outlets citing anonymous military and intelligence sources already reported that the incident was a successful US operation to eliminate ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

FOX News (source):

The Islamic State group leader who reportedly had a $25 million bounty on his head is believed to have been killed in Syria.

A “high value ISIS target” — believed to be Islamic State mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — was killed by U.S.-led forces in Idlib, a well-placed military source told Fox News on Saturday night.

Soon after, the White House issued a statement that major news would be announced there at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Newsweek directly claims that al-Baghdadi was killed (source):

The United States military has conducted a special operations raid targeting one of its most high-value targets, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), Newsweek has learned. President Donald Trump approved the mission nearly a week before it took place.

Amid reports Saturday of U.S. military helicopters over the Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a senior Pentagon official familiar with the operation and Army official briefed on the matter told Newsweek that Baghdadi was the target of the top-secret operation in the last bastion of the country’s Islamist-dominated opposition, a faction that has clashed with ISIS in recent years.

A U.S. Army official briefed on the results of the operation told Newsweek that Baghdadi was killed in the raid, and the Defense Department told the White House they have “high confidence” that the high-value target killed was Baghdadi, but further verification is pending DNA and biometric testing. The senior Pentagon official said there was a brief firefight when U.S. forces entered the compound in Idlib’s Barisha village and that Baghdadi then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest. Family members were present. According to Pentagon sources, no children were harmed in the raid but two Baghdadi wives were killed after detonating their own explosive vests.

Local Idlib sources report that at least 7 people, including a child and 3 women, were killed in the developments in Barisha. This goes contrary to claims by US media alleging that no civilians were killed.

Other reports speculate that:

  • the strikes in Barisha to destroy al-Baghdadi’s compound and prevent it from turning into a place of worship for various radicals and ISIS supporters;
  • Turkey was not informed about the operation because President Erdogan is no more a US ‘reliable partner’. It’s hard to suppose how this is even possible because of the localtion of the supposed operation;
  • Turkey provided the US with intelligence

As expected the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces already claimed  that the supposed operation against al-Baghdadi became possible thanks to their assistance to the US-led coalition. This is an ordinary behavior for the Kurdish group that likes to prentend that it’s responsible for a total defeat of ISIS.

During the past few years, mainstream media outlets repeatedly claimed that al-Baghdadi was eliminated in Syria or Iraq. All these reports appeared  to be fake news.

If the current claim is different and the US-led coalition really eliminated  the ISIS leader, this will be an important development contributing for a further ISIS collapse.

  • The elimination of al-Baghdadi would be an important PR victory for the Trump administration that would use this factor to justify its Middle East foreign policy inside the US ahead of the Presidential Election 2020. So, Trump will get another chance to claim that his administration defeated ISIS.
  • The elimination of al-Baghdadi, if it realy happened, in Idlib province reveals all the hypocrisy of Western diplomats and journalists that have fiercely opposed ani-terror efforts of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance in the very same area.

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