Hezbollah says ISIS leader Baghdadi was spotted in a Syrian town

A Hezbollah-run news outlet says ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been seen in Syria. Baghdadi has been reported dead several times. ISIS is on the wane in Syria, but still present. BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Hezbollah-run news outlet said on Friday that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported present in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal during the Syrian army and its allies' operation to clear it.

FILE PHOTO: A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would have been his first public appearance, at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV/File Photo

The report, carried by a military news service run by Hezbollah, did not say if Baghdadi was captured in the town, which the Syrian army and its allies said they had taken this week.

Syria's army declared victory over Islamic State on Thursday, saying its capture of the jihadists' last town in the country marked the collapse of their three-year, hardline reign in the region.

The capture of Albu Kamal, a border town on the Iraqi border and Islamic State's last stronghold in Syria, sealed "the fall of the terrorist Daesh organization's project in the region", an army statement said on Thursday, using an Arabic term for Islamic State.

An audio message purported to be from Baghdadi was released in September. Baghdadi declared himself caliph and heir to Islam's historic leaders from the great medieval mosque in Iraq's Mosul in 2014.


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