'We do not have a reason to believe it is not authentic,' Pentagon spokesman tells Anadolu Agency.
The U.S. is trying to determine the authenticity of an audio recording that purports to be Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's latest message to his followers, the Pentagon told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
"We do not have a reason to believe it is not authentic and we do not know whether it is him or not," spokesman Eric Pahon told Anadolu Agency following Daesh's release of the recording. "But if it is his voice and he is referring to very recent events such as Astana talks or tension with North Korea as reported by some news outlets then it will be an indication for us that he is alive."
Baghdadi's whereabouts and status have been a mystery, and multiple claims have been made that he has been killed on various battlefields in Iraq and Syria.
The latest recording reportedly makes mention of the U.S.'s escalating conflict with North Korea and Turkey-Russia-Iran-mediated peace talks to end the Syrian conflict.
It also makes mention of the fight for Mosul, Daesh's former de facto capital, which Iraqi forces won from the terrorist group in July.
“The fighters in Mosul refused to surrender the city at the cost of their flesh and blood,” Baghdadi said, according to the Guardian newspaper. “Only after a year of fighting.”
He also urged his followers to “intensify one attack after another against the infidels’ information centers and their centers of ideological war”, likely referring to the news media, according to the British publication.