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    Smoke rises from the Raqqa province Syria. (File)

    Russian Aerospace Forces' Strike Kills Daesh Leader South of Raqqa - MoD

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    The Russian Defense Ministry stated Friday that the Russian aerospace forces' strike conducted on May 28, allegedly killed Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi south of Raqqa. The verification is ongoing.

    The Daesh leader may have been killed alongside other leaders of the extremist group and 330 terrorists in a Russian Aerospace Forces strike late last month, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.

    The ministry said its Su-34 strike aircraft and Su-35 multirole fighter attacked a so-called Daesh military council south of its stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria on May 28.

    "According to information that is checked through various channels, IS [Daesh] leader Ibrahim Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed as a result of the strike, was also present at the meeting," the ministry said in a statement.    

    "As a result of the Su-35 and Su-34 airstrikes, high-ranking commanders of the terrorist groups who were part of the so-called IS military council, as well as about 30 mid-level field commanders and up to 300 militants of their personal security, have been killed," the ministry said in a statement.

    The "military council," according to information obtained by the ministry, was said to have gathered to discuss an exit plan from the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa through the "southern corridor."

    The airstrike was carried out between 21:35 and 21:45 GMT on May 28, following drone footage confirmation of the council's meeting location.

    Later in the day, the US-led coalition said that it could not confirm the death of Baghdadi, as the Al Arabiya broadcaster reported.

    Al-Baghdadi appeared in the media for the first time in 2014 when he declared the creation of a caliphate in the Middle East. Since then, the media several times reported about the death of Daesh leader, though the information has never been confirmed.

    On Sunday, the Syrian state television reported that Baghdadi was killed as a result of US strikes in Raqqa.

    The United States was said to have been informed in advance of the Russian Aerospace Forces strike along existing channels of communication.

    Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual "Direct Line" call-in session that Russian troops would be deployed in Syria's Tartus naval facility and the Hmeymim air base in the future. According to the president, Russia also plans to take steps necessary for strengthening the combat capabilities of the Syrian Armed Forces.

    Tags:
    strike, Russian Aerospace Forces, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Syria, Raqqa
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