World Bulletin / News Desk
Militant leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on his fighters to resist as Iraqi forces were poised to enter the city of Mosul where he declared a "caliphate" two years ago.
"Do not retreat," said a voice presented as belonging to the leader of ISIL in an audio message released early Thursday by the IS-affiliated Al-Furqan media.
"Holding your ground with honour is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame," he said in the message, his first in more than a year.
"To all the people of Nineveh, especially the fighters, beware of any weakness in facing your enemy," Baghdadi said, referring to the northern Iraqi province of which Mosul is the capital.
In the 31-minute-long recording, Baghdadi expressed confidence that ISIL will be victorious in Mosul, and told his followers to invade Turkey.
"Unleash the fire of your anger on Turkish troops in Syria" the terrorist leader said and added:
"Turkey today entered your range of action and the aim of your struggle ... invade it and turn its safety into fear.''
Baghdadi claimed that Turkey is cooperating with atheists, therefore deserves to be attacked and targeted.
Rumours have abounded about the Iraqi leader's health and movements but his whereabouts are unclear.
In June 2014, days after militant fighters swept across swathes of Iraq, he made a rare public appearance in Mosul and announced the creation of an Islamic "state" straddling Iraq and Syria.
The "caliphate" has been shrinking steadily since last year and Iraqi forces earlier this week reached Mosul, the fighters' last major stronghold in Iraq.
The US-led coalition estimates there are 3,000 to 5,000 IS fighters inside the city but the final outcome of the battle appears to be in little doubt.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces, backed by the US-led coalition and its warplanes, launched a massive offensive on Mosul on October 17.
Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2016, 11:58