The head of the Islamic State Group, Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, was killed on Tuesday, a day after Iraq announced it had pushed militants into their strongholds, the first time in Mosul.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a long-standing observer of the conflict in the country, said it had information from senior leaders urging the death of Baghdadi.
“The leaders of the upper echelons of the Islamic state organization in Deir al-Zour province have confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of the Islamic state,” said Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the monitoring group.
“We have learned about it today but we do not know when he died or how.”Deir al-Zour, in eastern Syria, remains largely under the control of the Islamic state organization, even as the group loses land in other parts of the country and in neighboring Iraq.
Abdul Rahman said al-Baghdadi “has been in the eastern parts of Deir al-Zour” in recent months but it is not clear whether he died in the area or elsewhere.
There was no official confirmation or denial of news on the social networking platforms used by the Islamic state organization.”We are strongly recommending a strong line of succession, which will be needed,” he said, using a different abbreviation for Daish.
There have been persistent rumors of Baghdadi’s death in recent months, and the Russian military said in mid-June he was seeking to verify whether the head of the Islamic state organization had been killed in a May air strike in Syria.
The Islamic state destroyed the very symbolic location before Iraqi forces could reach it because it pushed the armed group from Mosul.Iraqi forces launched their campaign in October to restore Mosul, captured by insurgents during the mid-2014 attack that took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.