Despite numerous reports of his death or injury, Daesh’s* shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears to be more alive than dead, even though his whereabouts are unknown, and he has not been heard from in almost a year.
In a 54-minute audio recording purportedly of al-Baghdadi released by the terrorist group on Wednesday, their leader calls on his followers to “persevere” and continue fighting their enemies everywhere, the newspaper Haaretz reported.
“America is going through the worst time in its entire existence,” al-Baghdadi says. He also criticizes the surrenders of rebels in southern Syria to President Bashar Assad’s forces, calling them traitors and urges fighters to join Daesh instead.
He also urges patience, perseverance and continued jihad, or holy war.
In the audio message, al-Baghdadi congratulates followers on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and makes references to current events, including US-Turkish tensions over Ankara’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to be hiding somewhere in the vast desert region along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
In his previous audio message released in September 2017, he urged his followers to burn their enemies everywhere and target the “media centers of the infidels.”
Al-Baghdadi’s death has been reported numerous times in recent years, but the terrorist leader has re-emerged each time.
In June, the Russian Defense Ministry said that al-Baghdadi could have been killed as a result of a Russian airstrike on May 28, 2017 in the southern suburb of Raqqa.
But in September, an alleged audio recording of al-Baghdadi emerged, casting fresh doubt on whether the terrorist leader is currently dead or alive.
Daesh launched a campaign of terror against Syria and Iraq in 2013 and 2014, respectively, seizing vast territories and killing scores of people.
However, after a series of calamitous defeats at the hands of Syrian and Iraqi national armies backed by their allies, the terrorist group has lost all of its strongholds and around 90 percent of territory it controlled in both countries in 2014, when it declared its so-called “caliphate.”