Key Daesh commander Omar al-Shishani said to have survived strikes

Published March 10th, 2016 - 09:50 GMT
Omar al-Shishani survived the March 4 airstrikes targeting his convoy, although he was seriously wounded in the attack. (File photo)
Omar al-Shishani survived the March 4 airstrikes targeting his convoy, although he was seriously wounded in the attack. (File photo)

Top Daesh leader Omar al-Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, was wounded in a recent US airstrike in northeastern Syria but not killed despite suggestions to the contrary, AFP reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group with extensive sources on the ground in Syria, said Wednesday that while the March 4 strikes had targeted al-Shishani's convoy, killing his guards, he survived the attack.

"He's not dead," Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory's director, told AFP.

"He was taken from the province of Hasakeh to a hospital in Raqqa province where he was treated by an extremist doctor of European origin," he added.

Though al-Shishani's precise rank is unclear, the US had branded him "the ISIL (Daesh) equivalent of the secretary of defense."

The commander is one of Washington's most wanted Daesh leaders, with a $5 million bounty for information on his whereabouts.

Al-Shishani, a Georgian national, comes from the Pankisi Gorge region populated mainly by ethnic Chechens that has become known as a hotbed for training of extremist militants.

He previously fought as a Chechen rebel against Russian forces, then joined the Georgian military in 2006, fighting against Russia again during a military campaign in Georgia in 2008.

The March 4 airstrikes targeting al-Shishani took place near al-Shadadi in northeastern Syria, which was recaptured last month by local anti-Daesh fighters and the US-led coalition.


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