Friday, 4 November 2016
ISIL Leader Baghdadi Losing Control of His Troops
November 3, 2016
ISIL group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is losing the ability to keep control of his troops as the battle for Mosul rages on, a US military official said Thursday.
ISIL earlier released an audio message purportedly of Baghdadi, in which he urged his ‘jihadi’ followers not retreat as Iraqi security forces continue their push toward Mosul.
Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led coalition attacking ISIL in Iraq and Syria, said the military had not officially verified the authenticity of the recording but noted it was “clearly” an effort for ISIL to communicate with fighters.
“One of the interesting things that we have seen in the English translation of this is that Baghdadi is saying, ‘Don’t fight amongst yourselves,’” Dorrian told reporters.
“This is the type of thing that a leader who is losing command and control and ability to keep everybody on the same page says. We don’t believe it is going to work.”
Rumors have abounded about the Iraqi ‘jihadist’ leader’s health and movements but his whereabouts are unclear.
The leader of the Takfiri ISIL group broke a nearly year-long silence as Iraqi forces closed in on Mosul Thursday, urging his militants to hold their ground.
It was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s first statement since Iraqi forces launched a massive operation on October 17 to retake Mosul, where the ISIL chief declared the group’s “caliphate” two years ago.
“Do not retreat,” Baghdadi said in a purported message released by an ISIL-affiliated outlet. “Holding your ground with honor is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame.”
The “caliphate” has been shrinking steadily since last year and Iraqi forces earlier this week reached the outskirts of Mosul, the terrorists’ last major stronghold in Iraq.
If authentic, the recording entitled “This is what God and his messenger has promised us”, would be Baghdadi’s first since December 2015 and a rare sign of life.
Rumors have swirled about the Takfiri leader’s health and movements but his whereabouts are unclear.
In his latest message, which is undated but makes reference to events that are at most a few weeks old, Baghdadi also calls for attacks against Saudi Arabia — a favorite target — and Turkey.
Ankara has troops stationed at a base just outside Mosul and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s escalating rhetoric has raised fears of a unilateral Turkish intervention in Iraq.
Baghdadi also said that his followers who could not travel to Syria or Iraq should aim for Libya and urged all ISIL insurgents to remain ‘united in adversity’.
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