Louise Callaghan – Sunday Times March 3, 2019
Isis fighters are furious that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appears to have melted into the desert rather than take part in their last stand for the caliphate.
As advancing forces close in on the last sliver of Isis territory — an area of about half a square mile in the Syrian Euphrates valley — surrendering fighters have spoken of their anger with the absent Isis leader.
Interviews with Isis members, local leaders, fighters and western officials reveal a deep internal disenchantment with the so-called caliph, which has resulted in schisms within the jihadist group.
“He’s hiding somewhere,” said Mohammed Ali, a Canadian Isis fighter captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). “People are angry”…