Below is supposedly a new audio recording of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and it is titled, “This is what God and his Messenger have promised us.” The audio of al Baghdadi is unconfirmed as there have been multiple rumors of him being both severely injured and killed since the war against ISIS started. New images of the reclusive leader have not been published in years, the most common images are of him addressing followers in a Mosque in 2014. The audio is unlikely an older recording of al Baghdadi since it mentions the death of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, an ISIS deputy who died in August. If this is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it is the first recording published since December 2015.

The Independent conducted an interview with Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, and he stated his government has evidence that suggests al-Baghdadi may still be in Mosul.

“Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole [ISIS] system.” ISIS would have to choose a new caliph in the middle of a battle, but no successor would have the authority and prestige of Baghdadi, the leader who surprised the world by establishing the caliphate after capturing Mosul in June 2014.

Baghdadi has kept himself concealed for the last eight or nine months according to Mr Hussein, who added that the caliph had become very dependent on ISIS commanders from Mosul and Tal Afar, a city just to the west of Mosul. – The Independent

In the 30 minute audio recording al-Baghdadi urges his Islamic State fighters to not retreat against the invading forces. He also pleads to his followers that cannot reach Iraq or Syria to go to Libya.

Here is a partial translation from the Guardian:

“This … total war and the great jihad that the Islamic State is fighting today only increases our firm belief, God willing, and our conviction that all this is a prelude to victory,” said a voice purporting to be that of Baghdadi lreleased early on Thursday by the IS-affiliated Al-Furqan media.

“Do not retreat … Holding your ground with honour is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame,” he said in the message, his first in more than a year.

“To all the people of Nineveh, especially the fighters, beware of any weakness in facing your enemy,” Baghdadi said, referring to the northern Iraqi province of which Mosul is the capital.

Image courtesy of AP