Confirming Baghdadi’s location was the vital piece of information that allowed the raid to take place in October. ISIS and Baghdadi had made numerous enemies with other terrorist groups and people, making the process to locating him easier. Russia and Syria had been slowly taking back territory held by the HTS terrorist group throughout the year, causing more ‘trustworthy’ terrorists to flee to Turkey. While in Turkey, these troops would join other groups that had connections to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, creating a breeding ground for information. In the end, over 100 American special operations troops carried out the raid with fewer actually landing on ground. Turkey allowed the U.S. to fly through their airspace, as well as Russia; they granted the U.S. “safe-passage” through their air defense systems in Idlib province.
Baghdadi was located in a safe house outside the village of Barisha. As the U.S. helicopters got close to Barisha, they received ground fire, but they were able to eliminate the threat with the helicopters’ heavy machine guns. Once the troops landed, Baghdadi was called to surrender. Five ISIL gunmen were killed in the compound. Putting on an explosive vest, Baghdadi fled with his children to the tunnels in an attempt to escape or hide. The raiders, however, were well aware of the tunnels and cornered him right away. Baghdadi realized his death was imminent and detonated his explosive device, killing himself and his children.