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Top diplomat comments on al-Baghdadi's alleged death in Syria

June 16, 13:16 UTC+3

The US is deploying multiple launch rocket system to the areas in southern Syria where almost no units of the Islamic State remain, Lavrov has added

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. There is no one-hundred-percent confirmation yet that leader of the Islamic State terror group outlawed in Russia, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Friday.

"So far, I have no one-hundred-percent confirmation of the information that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed," the minister said.

Lavrov noted that "all examples of such actions to ‘decapitate’ terror groups had always been presented with great enthusiasm and pomp, but experience shows that later these groups restored their combat capabilities." "These groups, both IS and al-Qaeda [both outlawed in Russia] and their numerous reincarnations are still active," the minister noted.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could have been killed by a Russian airstrike on the southern outskirts of Syria’s Raqqa in late May. The airstrike was carried out overnight to May 28 against a command post, where the IS group’s leaders were meeting to discuss the routes for the terrorists’ exit from Raqqa through the so-called southern corridor, the ministry said in a statement.

IS positions in southern Syria 

The United States is deploying multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) to the areas in southern Syria where almost no units of the Islamic State remain, Lavrov added. 

The US earlier relocated two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems from Jordan to a military base located near the city of al-Tanf, 18 kilometers from the Jordanian border.

"As for reports that the Americans are deploying more weapons, including MLRS, to southern Syria on the border with Jordan and Iraq…Russian military are analysing the situation in the country, including through the channel that we have with the US on preventing unintended incidents," Lavrov said, adding that the channel may be used to clarify issues of concern for each side.

"According to our data, there are almost no IS units left in this area. Some experts view the deployment there of such serious weapons as an intention to create an additional military grouping to ensure steady communication channels between the government and pro-government forces in Syria and their partners in the neighboring Iraq," Lavrov stressed.

Some experts say Washington is trying to prevent the creation of a "Shia Crescent," Lavrov said. If these conclusions are right, it is regrettable that the goal of forming a single front for uncompromising war on terror without double standards will be replaced by the attempt to "again carry out geopolitical maneuvers" speculating on a religious factor, he stressed.

"The Muslim world should be united with all the other sides in the fight against terrorist threat," Lavrov emphasized.

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