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The president of the United States has confirmed via Twitter that the successor of the leader of the Islamic State has also been killed. "I have just confirmed that the replacement of the number one Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has been annihilated by US troops. Most likely, he would have taken the supreme position - now he has also died!" Trump tweeted. However, the leader has not detailed who it is or where or when the action that led to his death occurred.

Question sizes have unleashed speculation. One of the common theories among observers is that the alleged leader of the dejected Islamic State was nicknamed Abu Hasan al Mujahir. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS), the US allied militia that Turkey fights in the Syrian north, announced last Sunday night, hours after the death of Al Bagdadi, a new operation that, with its participation, had allowed to end Al Muhajir in the Jarabulus term.

This second attack, executed by bombing from drones, took place in a northern area controlled by Turkey and its related forces, in the so-called Euphrates Shield. A fact that raised suspicions with Turkey, already noted after having hunted the leader of the same Islamic State just five kilometers from Turkish soil, where he had taken refuge since last summer. According to the SDS spokesman, Mustafa Bali, Al Muhajir was trying to negotiate a safe passage for Al Bagdadi.

Al Muhajir was an un mediatic but important man within the organizational chart of the Islamic State, also known by his acronym in English IS or Daesh. In 2016 he was appointed successor to the organization's spokesman, Abu Mohamed el Adnani, who, in turn, had been the protagonist of the propaganda of the IS during its heyday. Thus he became the right hand of Al Baghdadi, and his name, one of those that rang loudest in the jihadist forums to collect the witness of the 'caliph', if required.

In addition, several sources on the ground have reported on Tuesday a third night raid in the same region of Jarabulus. Witnesses speak of 20 minutes of rumble during which helicopters could be heard, allegedly from the US, flying over an area located just five kilometers from the site where Al Muhajir was allegedly killed. The SDS recognized a "successful operation that allowed the arrest of important members of the SI", without detailing names.

In the succession there is a third name, and that triggers doubts about who Trump refers to. Since Intelligence has been considering for months that Al Baghdadi had limited its involvement in the IS to a mere symbolic, non-operational position, it is possible that there is a 'capped' leader of the armed group: Abdullah Qardash, also known as Abdullah al Afari. An Iraqi, like Al Bagdadi - the deceased leader of the SI only trusted countrymen for the positions of responsibility -, a native of Tel Afar.

Qardash, nicknamed 'The Professor' or 'Destroyer', had been commanded by the army under the orders of the executed Iraqi president Sadam Husein. Then he went through a trance similar to that of many other members of the SI: radicalized by the Western invasion of 2003 - Kardash shared a cell with Al Baghdad - they joined the insurgency, from there they jumped to Al Qaeda and, finally, to the pseudocaliphate of the IS. Last August, Qardash had been introduced by a media related to the IS as "in charge of Muslim affairs."

Meanwhile, fighting intensifies in northern Syria a few hours after the end of the truce agreed by Moscow and Ankara, with the aim of shielding an area under Turkish control that encompasses a fork between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ayn. In an unprecedented and dangerous situation in this complex war, Russian troops and soldiers of the Syrian army have been imprisoned by pro-Turkey forces on Tuesday. Militias, formed on the basis of Syrian opposition groups, previously accused of human rights violations.

According to several local media, a mortar shell from the Turkish side has struck this Tuesday afternoon in a border area near where a Russian military police patrol was stationed. The area, called Dirbesiye, located west of Qamishlo, under shared control of the SDS and the Syrian Government. The coup, which wounded six civilians, occurred a few hours after Syrian soldiers and militias in Turkey collided south of Ras al Ayn, at the end of Asadiya.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the exchange of fire has resulted in the death of six Syrian soldiers, attributed by this entity to "Turkish artillery fire." Which amounts to a possibility, barely seen in eight years of war, that the two neighboring armies have faced each other directly. In addition, a video posted by militiamen on Tuesday shows a group of allegedly captured government officials, in the hands of Ankara-backed forces.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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  • Islamic State
  • Donald Trump
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