On Monday, the Islamic State released an audio recording in which purportedly the militant group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi prompts the extremists to double their efforts, continue attacks and free terrorists from prisons.
The recording is believed to be al-Baghdadi’s first statement since April, when the ISIS leader put all the rumors of his death to an end. While there were numerous claims of al-Baghdadi's death within recent years, the terrorist has survived all the attacks. In 2017, Russia claimed al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian airstrike near Raqqa, yet the man reappeared with an audio statement in 2018. Then, in April of 2019, he appeared on a video for the first time in five years.
“Your brothers and sisters, do your utmost to free them and tear down the walls restricting them,” al-Baghdadi told his followers in the newest 30-minute recording published by the extremist al-Furqan media wing. “Do not hesitate to pay ransom if you cannot free them by force, and attack their butchers,” he ordered according to The Washington Post.
He also addressed women and other detainees held in camps, urging them to remain patient.
“Daily operations are underway on different fronts,” al-Bagdadi added.
Interestingly, the audio message was released around the time Russia, Turkey and Iran held an Ankara summit on the Syrian crisis.
"I would like to express a confidence that our talks will be productive and the agreements reached will form a ground for final resolution of the crisis in Syria, restore peace and security in this country, strengthen its sovereignty," Putin said after meeting Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
ISIS has lost all of its significant territories by November 2017, now being comprised of small “sleeper cells” conducting occasional attacks in Africa and the Middle East.
In November 2015, two years prior to the caliphate’s demise, ISIS released a video named “Soon Very Soon”, threatening Russia with the “blood” that would “spill like an ocean”. With audio sang in clear Russian, the video included an edit of executions and some footage of Russia.