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As caliphate crumbles, ISIS fighters rage over absent leader al-Baghdadi


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As the once-powerful Islamic State (ISIS) crumbles, and its desperate fighters make a last stand in its final enclave surrounded by U.S.-backed coalition forces, its ideological leader is nowhere to be found.

ISIS militants who have surrendered to coalition forces believe that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has abandoned the struggle when his leadership is needed most.

His absence is causing deep fissures within the crumbling terrorist organization, which, though eroded, still boasts between 28,000 and 32,000 soldiers.

“He’s hiding somewhere, people were angry,” Mohammed Ali, an ISIS fighter from Canada who was captured by the U.S.-backed Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, told The Sunday Times.

The ideological appeal of ISIS and Islamic extremism remains, but Baghdadi’s leadership vacuum and the receding territorial losses of what’s left of ISIS holdings in Syria diminish the influence of the once-powerful organization.


Where's Big Al?

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