Both the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) have been carrying out covert operations targeting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Reports issued by the Iraqi Air Force confirm the targeting of a convoy carrying al-Baghdadi in “al-Qa’im” district located in western Anbar province, but officials in the Popular Mobilization Units denied the reports claiming that the ISIS leader was being besieged by their own forces near Mosul.
A spokesman for the group “Asaib Ahl al-Haq”, Jawad Tlebawi”, reported that his brigades which are affiliated under the Popular Mobilization Forces have targeted the hideout of al-Baghdadi in Tal Afar, situated to the west of Mosul and that the group’s leader is surrounded and his militants are trying to open gaps to transfer him to safe areas in Syria. This was shown to be the case on Sunday 12th February when ISIS militants launched a major three pronged assault on PMU positions around Tal Afar in an attempt to create a safe passage to Syria.
On Monday 13th February, in western Anbar, the international coalition carried out a series of airstrikes on an ISIS meeting with several leaders of the group in attendance, killing 13 commanders. The senior IS officials were reportedly sent to Iraq from Syria by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.