Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a recent “farewell speech,” admits defeat and tells his Iraqi fighters in the battlefield to “flee and hide” or “ blow themselves up when surrounded by Iraqi forces,” reports a local Iraqi news outlet.
The speech comes as the commander of Iraq’s Federal Police revealed that leaders from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, are in fact “running away” from Mosul, which is expected to fall into the hands of U.S.-backed Iraqi troops and their allies.
Citing an anonymous source, the Arabic-language al-Sumaria News, notes that Baghdadi specifically directed the terrorists to flee besieged Mosul, ISIS’s last major stronghold in Iraq.
According to the Iraqi news outlet, the text of the speech was disseminated among other ISIS speakers to deliver to fighters at different locations in Mosul.
Furthermore, the speech “included a recognition of the group’s defeat in recent fighting and directed its combatants to ‘disguise and escape’ to the mountainous areas” of Iraq and Syria, reports al-Sumaria, quoting the source.
Baghdadi’s “sermon also included instructions to the members of the organization telling them to blow themselves up when surrounded by Iraqi forces,” the unnamed source told al-Sumaria.
High-ranking ISIS officers, particularly the leaders of the group’s so-called Mujahideen Shura (advisory) Council, have already fled to Syria, leaving behind their strongholds in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province, which houses Mosul.
The ISIS chief revealed that “prominent” ISIS “leaders” are “moving closer to the border between Iraq and Syria,” points out the source.
His comments are consistent with recent revelations by Lt. Gen. Raid Shakir Jaudat, the commander of Iraq’s Federal Police, who said ISIS leaders are fleeing Mosul.
“The terrorist organization [Islamic State is] living in a state of shock, confusion and defeat, and its fighters are fighting in isolated groups,” declared Gen. Jaudat, according to CNN.
“Our field intelligence units indicate that the terrorist organization is falling apart, and its leadership [is] running away from Mosul,” he added.
The U.S.-backed Iraqi alliance has already liberated eastern Mosul. Currently, they are fighting the push ISIS out of the western half of the city, Iraq’s second largest.
“Earlier this month, unconfirmed news claimed that Baghdadi, whose exact whereabouts remained unknown for long, had been seriously wounded when airstrikes targeted a senior leadership meeting he chaired near the borders with Syria,” notes Iraqi News.
There have been multiple reports erroneously claiming Baghdadi has been wounded and even killed.