Western intelligence agencies allege ISIS leader survived from a foiled assassination attempt

Western intelligence agencies claim that an assassination attempt took place in January against the leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS), Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. The incident is alleged to have taken place on 10 January in the periphery of the Hajin city, located 100 kilometres south of Deir Ez-Zor.

Deir Ez-Zor has been a landmark city throughout the Syrian civil conflict, while the Hajin area represents the last stronghold of ISIS forces, suppressedby the Russian-Syrian and U.S.-Kurdish coalitions operating in the Syrian territory. Recent intelligence reports estimate the number of remaining ISIS militias roughly to reach 500 soldiers, from the original 70.000 army who partaked in Syria’s battlefronts at the climax of the country’s internal strife in 2013-2015.

On 10 January, locals in the surrounding villages of Hajin city reported the breakout of a sudden exchange of shots between competing militia groups, with a group of them finding refuge in the adjacent desertous area. The escaped forces are alleged to be ISIS self-proclaimed leader and his devoted rebel. Immediately after the incident, ISIS initiated a manhunt against Abu Muath Al Jazairi, a former ISIS commander. The militias loyal to ISIS leader have placed a bounty to be given on the successful capture of Al Jazairi. This development reveals to western intelligence agencies the possible involvement of Al Jazairi to the foiled assassination attempt.

As the ISIS presence in the remaining Syrian enclaves gradually disintegrates, intra-organisational leadership disputes are expected to intensify among local former ISIS commanders. Western intelligence agencies are hopeful that from this manhunt process against the self-proclaimed ISIS leader, they would manage to discover his whereabouts and neutralise the remaining fighters in the region.

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