Usually when Russia says something, it should be taken with a grain of salt—or if you’re the leader of America, it should be accepted blindly. So when Russian officials claimed to have killed the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, back on June 16, many were skeptical. US and Iraqi officials had found no real proof to support those claims. But now, according to a CBS News report, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)—a monitoring group with a history of accurately reporting incidents from inside Syria—says the Islamic State confirmed the death of their caliph.
U.S. military officials continue to say they have no reason to believe al-Baghdadi is dead, and a spokesman for an anti-ISIS coalition told CBS, “We cannot confirm this report, but hope it is true. We strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed.” But the London-based SOHR told the news outlet that “1st tier and two 2nd tier ISIS commanders from Deir Ezzor” had confirmed al-Baghdadi’s death.
If this is true, it’s a massive blow to ISIS. Losing their caliph throws serious doubts on the legitimacy of the caliphate’s claims. Additionally, the group has experienced massive shrinkage when it comes to their land holdings of late. Just recently, it was reported they’d lost the important city of Mosul. Without a caliph and without land, there can be no true claims of a caliphate.
Sucks for them.