The so-called Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have survived a Russian airstrike in May, according to a top U.S. military commander.
At first, Townsend said his belief stemmed from a lack of evidence he had seen "rumour or otherwise" that al-Baghdadi was dead.
Russian Federation claimed in mid-June to have killed Baghdadi in a May airstrike near the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa as he met with other top ISIS leaders. But, he then added: "There are also some indicators in intelligence channels that he's alive".
Baghdadi's whereabouts have been unknown for some time. At the time, it said: "We can not confirm this report, but hope it is true". Quite honestly, I hope he's deader than a doornail.
The coalition has suggested he may be hiding in the Euphrates river valley. "As soon as we find out where he is, he will be", he said in July.
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Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS militants in Tal Afar and the entire province of Nineveh, despite continued fighting in the small town of al-'Ayadiya. "It's probably not worth all the trouble to try and capture him".
The coalition is investigating another 455 reports of civilian casualties caused by its artillery or air strikes, the statement said.
However, the militants still control areas on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.
A man believed to be ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, in a video released July 5, 2014.
Tal Afar became the next target for the Iraqi government in its fight against IS after it retook Mosul.