BEIRUT: A Hezbollah-run news outlet said Friday that Daesh (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported present in the Syrian town of Albukamal during the Syrian army and its allies' operation to clear it.
The report, carried by a military news service run by Hezbollah, did not say if Baghdadi was captured in the town, which the Syrian army and its allies said they had taken this week.
Syria's army declared victory over Daesh on Thursday, saying its capture of the extremists' last town in the country marked the collapse of their three-year, hardline reign in the region.
The capture of Albukamal, a border town on the Iraqi border and Daesh’s last stronghold in Syria, sealed "the fall of the terrorist Daesh organization’s project in the region," an army statement said on Thursday, using an Arabic term for Daesh.
An audio message purported to be from Baghdadi was released in September. Baghdadi declared himself caliph and heir to Islam's historic leaders from the great medieval mosque in Iraq's Mosul in 2014.