Kurdish Counter-Intelligence Believe ISIS Leader Alive
On Monday, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said he was 99 percent sure that the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was still alive and currently living in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
Lahur Talabany told Reuters, “Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive. Don’t forget his roots go back to al Qaeda days in Iraq. He was hiding from security services. He knows what he is doing.”
Iraqi security forces have slowed down the three years of Islamic State rule that existed in the Iraqi city of Mosul, but the terrorist group continues to grow in Raqqa, due to military strongholds.
ISIS Shifts Tactics In Raqqa
“Talabany said Islamic State was shifting tactics despite low morale and it would take three or four years to eliminate the group. After defeat, Islamic State would wage an insurgency and resemble al-Qaeda on “steroids”, he said. “
“The future leaders of Islamic State were expected to be intelligence officers who served under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the men credited with devising the group’s strategy.”
Kill Confirmation Has Not Been Proven
“Talabany said Baghdadi is most likely hiding south of the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS’s self-styled caliphate, currently besieged by a Kurdish-Arab force backed by the U.S.-led coalition. The intelligence official’s comments come after top U.S. military officials said on June 11 they had no evidence that ISIS’s elusive leader was still alive.”
“Russia said in mid-June that it had killed Baghdadi in a May airstrike near Raqqa as he met with other top ISIS leaders at a military council meeting. Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a pro-rebel, U.K.-based monitoring group with extensive contacts in Syria, said it had received information from within ISIS that Baghdadi was dead, but could not confirm how he had been killed.”