Islamic State's reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claimed the "Caliphate" is going strong despite the airstrikes. The terror group released an audio statement that indicated he wasn't killed by the America-led coalition's airstrikes.
Believed to have been killed after his convoy was reportedly hit by an airstrike, al-Baghdadi, Islamic State's key member and one of it influential leaders, released an audio statement calling for an uprising in Saudi Arabia and promising future attacks in Israel. The Islamic State group released the message on Saturday, which it claims is recorded by al-Baghdadi.
The message contains an extensive audio clipping, which purportedly contains the voice of al-Baghdadi, who claims the self-styled "Caliphate" is doing well. Despite the relentless drone strikes and barrage of bombs dropped on suspected Islamic State strongholds, the Caliphate is going strong, he says. Though it isn't possible to determine exactly when the audio clipping was recorded, al-Baghdadi criticizes the recently formed Islamic military coalition being led by Saudi Arabia to fight against terrorism. The coalition was announced on December 15.
Apart from mocking Saudi Arabia for forming the 34-nation alliance, he has urged the group's operatives for an uprising in the region.
"ISIS has not forgotten Palestine for a single moment. And soon, soon with God's permission, you will hear the footsteps of the mujahedeen... We are getting closer to you day by day. "The speaker in the audio clip called on Saudi citizens to "rise up against the apostate tyrants, and avenge your people in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen," reported the Daily Mail.
"They announced lately a coalition... falsely called 'Islamic' and announced its goal is to fight the caliphate. If this coalition were Islamic, it would have announced victory and aid to the people of Syria."
The audio clip is about 24-minutes long, in which al-Baghdadi slams Saudi Arabia on numerous occasions, but continually stresses that the "Caliphate" is doing well. He mentions that airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have only increased the Islamic terrorist network's determination and resolve, reported New York Daily News. He also adds that the attacks by Russian forces as well as by a coalition led by America have not only failed to weaken the group, but have served to increase his group's determination and resolve.
The authenticity of the audio hasn't been independently established yet, but the clipping has been extensively circulated on IS-affiliated websites and Twitter. Islamic State's message from al-Baghdadi is the first since May and may have been released to boost the sagging morale of the group's members. Numerous reports have indicated that many members have been deserting the group owing to the intensified attacks from the America-led coalition on one side and Russia on the other.
A U.S.-backed coalition of rebels in Syria — including Syrian Kurdish, Arab and Christian groups — captured a major dam on the Euphrates River, reported ABC News. Additionally, a newly formed coalition, named Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed it is working on a new offensive aimed at cutting supply lines to Islamic State's strongholds in the country's north. SDF claims they have seized control of Tishrin Dam. The huge hydroelectric power station capable of outputting 630 MW of electricity, ensured continuous electricity supply to a large swathe of Syria. The SDF largely contains Kurdish militia in Syria known as YPG, or People's Protection Units. A spokesperson added that SDF is trying to cut the supply lines between the Islamic State's de-facto capital of Raqqa and the group's stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria.
[Image via YouTube]