Social media sources are reporting that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a raid carried out by American forces in Syria. The operation was carried out using helicopters, drones and jets and targeted a compound near Idlib.
While al-Baghdadi has been reported to be deceased before, there are already details emerging of the raid including the manner of his death which is said to have been via suicide vest. Two of al-Baghdadi’s wives are also said to have been killed in the same manner during the incident. U.S. forces are said to have taken biometric and DNA information for verification that al-Baghdadi is indeed dead.
Despite early claims that al-Baghdadi’s children had survived the raid and were presumably taken into United States custody, a later statement by U.S. President Donald Trump suggested three were killed by the blast unleashed during al-Baghdadi’s suicide.
The following video is graphic.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said helicopter gunfire had killed 9 people at a village in Idlib province, yet there is no verification as to whether the two incidents are linked.
There has already been speculation that the controversial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and “betrayal” of the Kurds is linked to the U.S. raid on al-Baghdadi which is said to have been an intelligence-led operation.
There have also been questions raised about al-Baghdadi’s alleged hideout location in Barisha. The location is situated inside territory controlled by anti-Assad rebels close to the border with Turkey. The rebels, which have been pictured in recent days engaged in atrocities against the Kurds, have been lauded by the west and promoted as an alternative to al-Assad. The territory is surrounded by land controlled by Assad to the South and the Kurds to the east, leaving Turkey as the only other entry point.
No doubt there will be as many questions raised by the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as there were by the death of Osama Bin Laden and new information will come to light over the coming hours and days.
This article was updated from an earlier version to include further details as revealed by Donald Trump.