MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Russia’s defense ministry has no reliable proof that Islamic State (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a US raid and doubts that such a raid has ever taken place, the ministry’s spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said on Sunday.
"Russia’s defense ministry has no reliable information about an operation by US forces in the Turkey-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone aimed at another extermination of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," he said.
He said that the fact that the number of those who say about their participation in al-Baghdadi’s extermination and share contradictory details of the operation make one doubt that such an operation ever took place.
"We know nothing about any assistance to the flight of US aircraft to the Idlib de-escalation zone’s airspace in the course of this operation," Konashenkov said.
Yet another report about the extermination of al-Baghdadi can hardly influence the situation in Syria, Konashenkov said.
"After Islamic State was ultimately defeated by the Syrian government army with support of the Russia aerospace forces in early 2018, yet another ‘death’ of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will have no impact either on the situation in Syria or on the actions of terrorists staying in Idlib," he said.
No airstrikes by US forces reported from Syria’s Idlib
No airstrikes by the US air force or by the US-led coalition have been reported from Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone in the recent days, Konashenkov noted.
"No airstrikes by either US air forces of the so-called international coalition have been registered in the Idlib de-escalation zone on Saturday and over the recent days," Konashenkov said.
Apart from that the Russian defense ministry said it doubted that al-Baghdadi could be hiding on a territory controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia as a terrorist organization) in Idlib.
"This organization has always unhesitatingly killed Islamic State fighters on the spot as key rivals for power in Syria. Bearing this in mind, the US or other participants in the operation should at least provide direct evidence that the former Islamic State leader had been safely staying on a territory controlled by the ‘Syrian Al Qaeda (also outlawed in Russia)," he added.
US President Donald Trump said earlier in the day Islamic Abu Bakr al-Badgdadi had died in an overnight raid led by U.S. forces in Syria’s Idlib. He said that many of al-Baghdadi’s supporters and Islamic State militants had been killed as well. There were no casualties among the US military, he claimed.