The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday it is checking on information indicating that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was reportedly killed in a Russia-led airstrike in Syria.
Russian Su-34 aircraft and an Su-35 multirole fighter carried out airstrikes near the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria on May 28, the ministry said. The strikes targeted a meeting of high-ranking Islamic State chiefs where Al- Baghdadi was reportedly present.
“According to information that is being checked through various channels, IS leader Ibrahim Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed as a result of the strike, was also present at the meeting,” the ministry said in a statement.
Moscow has given its American partners information about the place and time of the airstrike, the ministry said.
Although numerous media reports have speculated on al-Baghdadi’s death, neither the Pentagon, nor the Iraqi or Syrian militaries have ever confirmed those claims.
Putin Briefed on Russian MoD’s Report on Possible Baghdadi Elimination
Sputnik | 13:14 16.06.2017(updated 13:40 16.06.2017)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday its attack and multirole aircraft may have killed Baghdadi on the southern outskirts of Raqqa on May 28. It noted that it was in the process of confirming the information through various channels.
“The president, as commander-in-chief, naturally receives regular reports from our defense department on a regular basis,” Peskov told reporters.
“The goal of the operation is the fight against terrorism, helping the legitimate Syrian leadership in the fight against terrorism,” Peskov said when asked if Russia’s strike on the positions of terrorists could change the US rhetoric that Russia was supposedly more interested in protecting President Bashar Assad rather than destroying Daesh.
“Besides, the president has always said that we are pursuing our own goals as well, because several thousand people from our country are fighting in the ranks of these terrorists,” he said.
Russia and the United States lack cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Peskov said.
“Our common position is undermined by the fact that we have a lack of interaction, because if we cooperated and interacted, I mean Russia and the United States, then this fight could be felt more effectively. This, unfortunately, does not take place in connection with a lack of such a desire among our US partners.”
Russia is yet to confirm the death of Daesh leader Baghdadi in a Russian airstrike in Syria’s Raqqa, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the day.
Al-Baghdadi appeared in the media for the first time in 2014 when he declared the creation of a caliphate in the Middle East. Since then, the media several times reported about the death of Daesh leader, though the information has never been confirmed.
On Sunday, the Syrian state television reported that Baghdadi was killed as a result of US strikes in Raqqa.
Russian MoD publishes image of airstrike that may have killed ISIS leader
Published time: 16 Jun, 2017 11:56
Russia’s Defense Ministry has released satellite images of an area hit by a Russian-led airstrike which may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Raqqa, Syria.
The composition picture shows photos of the same location taken on May 13 and May 29, the day after the reported airstrike.
The four buildings, which the MoD said had been used by jihadist commanders for a high-profile meeting on May 28, are marked and have been levelled, as seen in the second photo.