A US official announced that the United States would "probably" succeeded in killing "Omar the Chechen", one of the military leaders of the Islamic State group (EI) but NGOs said the official was "seriously injured "but not killed.
"He was probably killed with 12 other fighters," the jihadist group in an American bombing on March 4 in the north-eastern Syria, on Tuesday said a US official on condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, confirmed that strike the US-led coalition had targeted "the Chechen Omar," but he declined to give any indication on his fate.
However, according to sources quoted by an NGO, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), "Omar the Chechen" was not killed. "The jihadists convoy has been targeted by coalition aircraft led by the United States, killing his bodyguard but was seriously injured him. He's not dead, "said AFP Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the OSDH.
"He was taken from the province of Hasaka (north-eastern Syria, ed) in a hospital in the province of Raqa where he received care from a jihadist European origin doctor," Abdel said Rahman.
Known for his thick red beard, the jihadist, whose real name is Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili is a Chechen from Georgia, the Pentagon spokesman said.
This "experienced warlord" occupied "several responsibilities at the head of the military organization of EI, including the Ministry of war," he said.
The US government offered $ 5 million for reliable information that could lead to him.
Father jihadist Taïmouraz Batirashvili, told the Interfax news agency will not be able to confirm his death. "I know nothing of the death of my son. They announce his death almost every month, "he said.
If confirmed, his elimination will "affect the ability of IE to recruit foreign fighters, especially from Chechnya and the Caucasus" and ability to "coordinate the defense of its bastions" of Raqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq welcomed Peter Cook.
The bombing took place on 4 March in the Chaddadé area, a jihadist stronghold northeast of Syria that the IU had lost the benefit of local allied coalition forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces, according to the Pentagon .
A US official said it was "unusual and noteworthy" that "Omar the Chechen" will be made there.
"It was probably to strengthen the failing morale of the Islamic State group fighters there, after a succession of defeats," said he said.
Taking Chaddadé late February was hailed by the Pentagon as an important victory on the road Raqa, the self-proclaimed capital of EI is in the crosshairs of the international coalition.
Nearly 6,000 fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces had participated in the fighting, with the support of some US special forces soldiers deployed in Syria, according to the Pentagon.
According to the US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, "Omar the Chechen" is from the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, populated mainly by Chechens.
After fighting against the Russians in the Georgian army in 2008, he left the army, makes 16 months in prison for possession of weapons and joined Syria and a group fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
He had pledged allegiance to the leader of the IU Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2013, the source said. It is then believed to have led to a prison near Tabqa Raqa, where foreign hostages may have been held.
He then became commander of military operations of EI in northern Syria, according to the US official.
He also became responsible for the fighters from the Caucasus.
According to data published by the Soufan Group, an intelligence analysis firm run by a former FBI, former Soviet republics have been major providers of foreign fighters for EI, almost as much as Western Europe .
The success of the jihadists disposal operations is sometimes difficult to establish with certainty by the US intelligence services, lack of US presence on the ground.
"Omar the Chechen" has already been given up for dead by various social networks or media, before reappearing.
The lull in the fighting in Syria brokered by Washington and Moscow is not about fighting against the EI and the Al-Nosra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.