Syrian President Bashar Assad in an interview with Sputnik denied reports of the capture of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh (the Islamic State terrorist organization, or IS, banned in Russia).
“That’s not true. Anyway, those borders are under the control of [Daesh] till this moment, it’s neither Syrian nor Russian, not even Western or American or any other one; it’s only [Daesh] who’s controlling those borders, so it’s safe for al-Baghdadi to be in that area,” Assad said.
A number of media outlets earlier reported that al-Baghdadi had been detained in Syria near the border with Iraq. This information has not been officially confirmed.
The civil war in Syria has been lasting for around six years with government troops fighting against numerous opposition factions and terror organizations such as al-Nusra Front and Daesh, outlawed in Russia.
The nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime was introduced on December 30, 2016. Terrorist organizations are not part of the ceasefire.
In early March, Iraqi news network Alsumaria reported that Daesh al-Baghdadi has acknowledged the terrorist group’s defeat in Iraq and urged his supporters to take refuge in the country’s mountainous regions.