ISIS leader has wives and children in both Iraq and Syria

Straddling sides of the border, one wife arrested in Lebanon

02 December, 18:43

    Abu Bakr Al  Baghdadi in a mosque in Mosul (archive). Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in a mosque in Mosul (archive).

    (ANSAmed) - BEIRUT - The Islamic State (ISIS) leader known as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has wives and children from both of the countries the transnational jihadist group has a significant presence in. Baghdadi reportedly has three wives: two Iraqi and one Syrian, who was recently arrested in Lebanon with one of his daughters while trying to enter Syria carrying false ID papers. He is thought to have about a dozen children both east and west of the Syrian-Iraqi border - not as many yet as those sired by Al-Qaeda founder and former leader Osama Bin Laden, known for having married six women (the first at age 17) and fathered 24 children.

    Self-proclaimed 'caliph' of territory as large as Hungary in the area straddling the border between Iraq and Syria, Baghdadi is wanted by the authorities around the world and the US has offered 10 million dollars for information leading to his capture. An international coalition led by the US was set up last summer to fight against ISIS and get rid of its leader. As is usually the case with the 'most-wanted', Baghdadi has managed to surround himself with mystery.

    The identity of only one of his Iraqi wives is known: Suja Al-Dulaimi, from a powerful Iraqi tribe that goes by the same name. Suja made headlines in March when she was reportedly one of the few women freed in a prisoner exchange conducted with regional mediation between the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Damascus regime near the border between Syria and Lebanon. It is not known when Baghdadi and Suja were married, but several sources say that the woman, in her thirties, had previously been married to an Iraqi Al-Qaeda leader, Faleh Jasem, who died in battle in western Iraq. Baghdadi, who since 2002 has been at the head of Al-Qaeda cells in the region, claims to have married Suja ''out of respect for his battle companion''.

    Baghdadi's Syrian wife arrested in late November by the Lebanese authorities is said to be his second. The daughter detained with her is reportedly 8-9 years old, according to Beirut security sources. Iraqi media report that Baghdadi has fathered between 10 and 14 children with his three wives. For security reasons, none of the 'caliph's' wives lives with her husband, who is said to live like a warrior monk, spending his days planning ISIS political and military operations, praying and studying. (ANSAmed).

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