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Is Baghdadi hiding in this ISIS stronghold in Syria?

Published: Updated:

Just like Kurdish officials and their allies in Syria hid intelligence information related to the Beatles terrorist cell which slaughters foreigners, and which the Syrian Democratic Forces held two of its members since the beginning of this year, they once again abstain from revealing the whereabouts or fate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A prominent Kurdish official commented in a British news report that the Syrian Democratic Forces managed to locate Baghdadi and monitor him. He told Al Arabiya English that what was published “is a mere intelligence piece of information that was conveyed to them via a journalist.” The official thus neither denied nor confirmed the report.

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesperson Kino Gabriel refused to comment on these reports but military sources said there was a great possibility that Baghdadi is present in the Syrian town of Hajin near Deir az-Zour, which is close to the border with Iraq.

Deir az-Zour military council spokesperson Lilawa al-Abdullah told Al Arabiya Englsih that most ISIS fighters in Hajin and its surroundings have different nationalities, and they are among the organization’s most important commanders.

“It’s possible that Baghdadi or those close to him are in that area. The Syrian Democratic Forces monitor the movement of most ISIS members who are besieged in Hajin and who cannot easily escape,” Abdullah said.

“We seek to completely end ISIS in Syria all the way to the Iraqi borders where its last stronghold is. The campaign against it is ongoing after it was halted as a result of Turkey’s attacks on populated areas,” she added.

“Ever since the campaign resumed, our fighters launched major attacks against ISIS and they’ve managed to destroy a command headquarters and kill dozens of them,” she also said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish-Arab factions supported by Washington in the war against ISIS, holds hundreds of ISIS members in their prisons, including two members of the Beatles cell, including their wives and children.

Abdulkarim Omar, the head of foreign relations in the Kurdish-led area, had told Al Arabiya English that these detainees are a burden and pose a security threat, calling on the international community to take serious measures to find a solution.

Authorities in North Syria are not trying these ISIS members, and are demanding that they be handed to their governments for trials. This is unlike the case in Iraq where the judiciary sentenced more than 300 ISIS fighters to life in prison or execution.

The Deir az-Zour military council, a faction affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces, announced launching the Al-Jazira Storm campaign in May to liberate the eastern countryside of Deir az-Zour from the organization. The council is resuming the campaign’s second phase, which it dubbed “defeating terrorism.”