Conflicting reports of Baghdadi’s death addle the media as Daesh faces internal turmoil
A file photo of Daesh supporters waving flags. (AFP/File)
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Media outlets had published yesterday reports about the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Daesh militant organization, in U.S. air strike in Raqqa, in the absence of any official confirmation from the U.S. Department of Defense.
A U.S. Pentagon Spokesman told Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday: "We have looked at those (media) reports; however, we currently have no information confirming the news."
From its part, the British Daily Mirror newspaper had wrote yesterday quoting Iraq's news agency Amaq: "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed by the U.S. led coalition air strikes on Raqqa, Syria, on the fifth day of Ramadan."
The reports come a week following reports published by the Iraqi Al-Sumariya television about the injury of Baghdadi by an air strike conducted by the U.S.-led coalition. However, the coalition could not confirm the reports.
A spokesman of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Daesh militants, Colonel Chris Garver, said in an email that he had seen the reports but had "nothing to confirm the incident at this time".
Meanwhile, as Daesh is sinking in its own internal disputes and chaos, reports confirm the important increase of the killing of Daesh fighters by the organization itself.
The British Foreign Office had quoted Garver as saying that in the past three months, there has been an increase in the number of Daesh fighters killed by the organization. "It seems we have entered a phase of internal dispute," Garver had said. "We have seen cases of high-ranking (Daesh) leaders executing (Daesh) members with lower ranks. And we know the militants face more military pressures as they lose more territories, financial resources and battles."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had lately published reports saying Daesh killed 464 of its fighters in the last two years.
Reports from parties close to Daesh in Syria and Iraq said that in 2016 alone, the organization had executed 40 of its own militants in Deir Ezzor and 50 others in Musol for causing "internal disputes."
One Daesh leader was killed by his comrades in light of the increasing divisions in Raqqa, while 12 Daesh militants were killed in Mosul by their comrades claiming they had collaborated with Iraqi forces.
The number of withdrawals from Daesh has increased while the number of foreign fighters joining the organization has decrease by 90 percent, according to the international coalition. Daesh has also lost 45 percent of territories it used to control in Iraq and more than 10 percent of its territories in Syria.
To date, around 25,000 Daesh militants have been killed.
By Najlaa Habriri