Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

ISIL Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 'Killed in Syria Airstrike'

ISIL Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 'Killed in Syria Airstrike'

There was no immediate comment from the US -led coalition against the Islamic State group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who broke into Raqa after announcing the start of a final assault on the city last week, said their fighters "liberated the neighbourhood of Al-Romaniya on the western front of Raqa, after two days of continued clashes".

It said the fighting there had left at least 12 IS jihadists dead.

The city has always been seen as a prize by multiple parties to the Syrian conflict, including the government, Russia, Turkey and the US-led coalition bombing IS since 2014.

Raqqa has been a hub both for Daesh's military leaders and its bureaucrats and has been used to plot attacks in countries around the world. The SDF previously seized control of the district of Al-Meshleb in the east.

But as the SDF drew closer to the city, thousands were smuggled out to territory newly captured by the US-backed fighters.

The SDF captured the Romaniyeh neighborhood in northwestern Raqqa, the latest achievement by the Kurdish-led group in their push to dislodge IS out of Raqqa city, Raqqa-based activist said.

The Observatory said on Sunday that coalition air strikes the previous day killed 24 civilians inside the city, up from an earlier toll of 13 people.

The Pentagon said in December it believed that the ISIS chief was alive, despite repeated efforts by the US-led coalition to take out the militant group leader.

The Syrian regime has described the SDF's war against Daesh as "legitimate" and said its military priorities are further east, suggesting it does not plan to confront the group now.

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