According to a spokesperson for US forces stationed in Iraq, Tarkhan Batirashvili, 30, also known as Omar Al-Shishani, one of the leaders of the terrorist Islamic State (ISIL) was badly wounded but managed to survive the American air strikes of several days ago.
Georgian leader of ISIL survives US air strikes, foreign media reads
By Messenger Staff
Monday, March 14
"Among the 13 targeted individuals, Batirashvili was the only one who managed to survive," Euronews.ge says.
An Islamic State commander described by the Pentagon as the group's "minister of war" was said to be killed in a US air strike in Syria, American officials said on Tuesday, in what would be a major victory in the United States' efforts to eliminate the militant group's leadership.
According to Reuters, Abu Omar al-Shishani ranked among America's most wanted militants under a US programme that offered up to $5 million for information to help remove him from the battlefield.
Batirashvili is a Georgian Kist jihadist, from Georgia’s eastern Muslim populated Pankisi Gorge, who currently serves as one of the Islamic State's most successful field commanders. He is a former sergeant in the Georgian Army.
A veteran of the 2008 Russian-Georgian War, Batirashvili became a jihadist after being discharged from the Georgian military and served in various command positions with Islamist militant groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War.
Batirashvili was previously the leader of the Katibat al-Muhajireen (Emigrants Brigade), also known as the Muhajireen Brigade, and its successor, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (Army of Emigrants and Supporters).
In May 2013, Batirashvili was appointed northern commander for ISIL, with authority over ISIL’s military operations and ISIL’s forces in northern Syria, specifically Aleppo, al-Raqqah, Latakia, and northern Idlib Provinces. As of late 2013, he was the the ISIL amir (leader) for northern Syria and was located in and around Aleppo Province. He was also in charge of fighters from Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus
He is considered "one of the most influential military leaders of the Syrian opposition forces". As of mid-2014, Batirashvili was a senior ISIL commander and Shura Council member based in al-Raqqah, Syria.