ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi Reportedly Alive But Wounded in Syria


Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is reportedly suffering from deteriorating health and psychological problems, and has been admitted to a hospital in Syria, a local media reported on Monday.

The assessment seems to have been based on reports from IS detainees and refugees in Syria, although it is not clear who carried out the airstrike in question.

US officials confirmed to CNN on Monday that while Baghdadi's injuries were not considered life-threatening they did mean he has not been able to continue to command the daily operations of the group.

However, that claim has since been disputed by USA and Russian leadership.

The US-backed campaign is now focusing on the remaining pocket of territory controlled by ISIS - the stretch of desert along the Syrian-Iraqi border, known as Jazeera.

The militant chief was wounded in "air raids against IS strongholds in Iraq", he said.

"We have irrefutable information and documents from sources within the terrorist organization that Baghdadi is still alive and hiding" in Syria's northeastern Jazira region, Iraqi intelligence chief Abu Ali al-Basri was quoted as saying by the government daily Al-Sabah on February 12.

Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri, is thought to be communicating with the group's followers via voice messages sent over encrypted app services.

Mr Al Basri said that Al Baghdadi, who also suffers from diabetes, is "living out his last days".

He may have been a cleric in a mosque in the city around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.

It, however, lost all of its strongholds in both Arab countries previous year thanks to the Syrian army's counter-terrorism offensives, backed by Russian air cover, and Iraqi army troops, backed by pro-government paramilitary forces known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha'abi.

In September 2017, ISIS released a rare audio recording of al-Baghdadi urging the group to continue its fight in Iraq and Syria.