ISIS has released a new recording of their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to ‘prove’ he is still alive.
In July, the terrorist group issued a brief statement confirming the the death of their leader.
Russia and Iran claimed that Islamic State leader was killed in airstrike earlier this year. The latest recording released on Thursday was made after the date of the strike which killed him.
Although ‘Baghdadi’s’ latest speech gave no indication of when it was recorded, ‘he referred to the political negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan, between the Syrian opposition and the government, as well as the Iraqi army’s recapture of Mosul and North Korea’s recent nuclear tests Whether the voice on the recording was that of Baghdadi couldn’t be be independently verified.
In this new recording he urged ISIS followers to continue, and claimed Syria’s government forces, allies and other forces fighting the Islamic State would not “last an hour” without air cover provided by the US and Russians.
The Guardian reports:
In the tape Baghdadi refers to the “nearly year-long fight for Mosul”, from which Isis was ousted in August after nearly 10 months of fighting. He also referenced fights for Hama in Syria, where a push in recent weeks by Iranian-led militias has ousted the terror group from much of its stronghold in countryside to the east of Syria’s third city.
He also referred to North Korean “nuclear threats to America” and “Russia taking control” of the Astana peace process between the Syrian opposition and regime. Both matters have been headline news throughout the year, but the North Korean standoff has been particularly potent in recent weeks.
“The fighters in Mosul refused to surrender the city at the cost of their flesh and blood,” said Baghdadi. “Only after a year of fighting.”
Addressing people in Syria, where an armed opposition has all but lost the civil war against the Iranian- and Russian-backed Assad regime, he said: “What have you benefited from your pact with your supporters other than truces with [Shias]? Turkey and the [Awakening Movement] will give you nothing. If it was not for us, you would be worse off.”
Baghdadi’s whereabouts have been the subject of intense speculation throughout the past three years, during which time Isis rampaged through large parts of Iraq and Syria. He made one public appearance, in July 2014, when he climbed the minbar, or pulpit, of the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul to anoint himself as leader of a new caliphate.
Isis destroyed the mosque in Mosul’s old city as Iraqi forces closed in on them in June this year. Around the same time, Russia claimed that one of its airstrikes had killed Baghdadi among a gathering of Isis leaders south of Deir ez-Zor, across the border in Syria. Iran later gave weight to the claims, which were not given credence by western intelligence officials.