Russian, Syrian and Iranian troops are chasing the ISIS leader near the Iraqi border
ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – still the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head – is believed to be very much at large, quite possibly in a desert area of Syria.
Multiple officials said Baghdadi is likely sheltering in a remaining ISIL bastion in the Euphrates River Valley on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq, Fox News reported.
“The last information we have is he is in Al-Hajin in Syria, 18 miles from the border in Deir Ezzur province,” Abu Ali al-Basri, director-general of the intelligence and counter-terrorism office at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, told Fox News on Sunday.
Al-Basri added that fresh information about Baghdadi’s whereabouts has come as recently as the last couple of days, and is being used conduct a “multi-force raid” with Russian, Syrian and Iranian troops.
Iraqi Defense Ministry Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool confirmed to Fox that al-Baghdadi is thought to be alive, and that he may be located in the border area East of the Euphrates River, possibly in the town of al-Shadaddah in al-Hasakah province in Northeast Syria.
“It’s not difficult for him to hide in the Syrian desert,” the officer added.
Experts also stressed that Baghdadi may not have any contact with other ISIL members, and never remains in areas when the fighting or strikes become too intense.
The Iraqi air force has stepped up its attacks against ISIL targets in Syria in recent days.