The leader of the mercenaries, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appeared on Monday for the first time in five years in a video posted by a website belonging to Daesh, in which he admits defeat in al-Bagouz.
The date of the video is unclear, but al-Baghdadi says at the outset that “the battle of al-Bagouz is over,” referring to their defeat in the last enclave of northeastern Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The last appearance of al-Baghdadi was in July 2014, when he delivered a speech from in Mosul after the mercenaries seized the city and declared the alleged “caliphate” on the territory under his control.
The release of the video follows today’s fall of Daesh’ last enclave since March 2019 and its military and geographic defeat.
The place of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains unknown. The latest reports indicate that he is traveling in areas occupied by Turkey in northern Syria.