Kino Gabriel, a spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and General Command of the Syrian Military Council, has debunked the rumours the self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could have been captured by the US-backed Kurdish fighters.
“These reports are baseless, with no evidence. He has not been captured”, Gabriel told Fox News.
Over this week, there’s been much speculation on social media and beyond that the SDF had seized the Daesh* leader during their offensive on the terrorist group.
Baghdadi, who remains the world’s most wanted man, is believed to be alive and hiding on the Euphrates banks even though he has repeatedly been reported to have been killed or gravely injured.
“Iraqi intelligence is following Baghdadi and we believe he never stays in one place for more than one day. We have information he still moved from towns in Syria and entered the Iraq border through Anbar with movement to bordering Salahuddin”, said Abu Ali al-Basri, director general of Iraq’s intelligence office at the Ministry of Interior.
Fox News cited several political and security analysts, who suggested that the Daesh leader, who may be hiding in the Syrian desert, is trying to stay under-the-radar by wearing modern clothes, driving a simple car and not using mobiles.
In October, he was reported to have ordered the execution of 320 of his followers, including senior commanders, for “disloyalty” and “recklessness”.
Al-Baghdadi made his only known public appearance in the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, having declared a cross-border “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, after capturing vast territories in both countries. The United States is offering a whopping $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.