Baghdadi hides at Syrian borders: Operations Commander

FILE PHOTO – A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi marks what would have been his first public appearance, at a mosque in the centre of Mosul, according to a recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from footage. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV/File Photo.

Nineveh ( Islamic State supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is likely to be hiding at al-Jazeera area, close to the Syrian borders, said We are Coming Nineveh Commander of Operations, Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Yarallah on Sunday.

Baghdadi is not at areas where security troops are fighting, he added, stressing that he doesn’t have any significance as his role in the region came to an end, as he put it.

Speaking to Youm 7 news website, Yarallah said, “the information we have show that Baghdadi is not at places where we are fighting but at al-Jazeera area, near to the Syrian borders, especially at areas that were not liberated.”

“Some information indicate his injury in the wake of airstrikes and that he was taken to Raqqa,” Yarallah added. “According to other information, he is hiding at Baaj,” Yarallah said, referring to a region west of Mosul.

Baghdadi, according to Yarallah, “totally lost control on the ground. Those with him are fighting without leadership. They fight through decentralized control at areas where we are fighting at. His role there is over anyway.”

In February, a local source from Nineveh said Baghdadi addressed his supporters at areas that IS controls. Admitting defeat to U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and militias fighting to retake the city of Mosul in his ‘farewell speech’, Baghdadi urged fighters to flee urban areas and resort to mountains.

Baghdadi’s exact whereabouts have been unknown for long time. In June 2014, Baghdadi was declared the  “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”.

Iraqi forces have made remarkable gains after a new offensive started in February to retake western Mosul. The eastern side was recaptured from IS in January.

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