The top U.S. general in Iraq and Syria said Thursday that the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is likely still alive.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is “probably somewhere in the middle Euphrates River valley,” the area between Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend told reporters at the Pentagon via teleconference from Baghdad.
There are “some indicators in intelligence channels that he’s alive,” Townsend added, before cautioning that he “hasn’t a clue” on Baghdadi’s location.
Townsend, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, added that he has seen no credible evidence pointing to Baghdadi’s death.
The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed in June that it had killed the terrorist leader in an airstrike, but previous reports of Baghdadi’s death have turned out to be false. He has not been seen in than three years.
“If he’s alive out there somewhere, we are looking for him every day. When we find him I think we’ll probably just try to kill him first. Probably not worth all the trouble to try to capture him,” said Townsend.
Townsend will soon turn over command after spending a year as the senior ground commander.