A man who was killed fighting ISIS in Iraq says he was not a “terrorist” in the way he was portrayed in the media.
In a series of tweets, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said he was fighting against “the evil of the crusaders and their corrupt leaders”.
“My family and I are fighting the crusader and the corrupt leaders and all the hypocrites, and we are not terrorists,” he wrote in a series titled ‘No terrorism in the Islamic State’ in English.
“I am fighting in the name of Allah, not a terrorism or a conspiracy.”
He added: “I am in Iraq to defend my homeland and the Islamic lands from the crusades and their leaders.”
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, a fighter in the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Iraq, was killed in a US-led coalition airstrike in July.
He said he had “a brother in the US, in the American military, and in the Americans army”.
The US-based Soufan Group said in July that he was one of several US-trained and armed fighters who were involved in attacks on Kurdish forces.
But Abu Bakr, who had been fighting ISIS since 2014, had not been officially recognised as a fighter by the US.
Abu Ibrahim al-Shami, a prominent Iraqi politician and Kurdish leader, told Al Jazeera the claims about his supposed involvement in terrorism were “false”.
“This is the US-created false narrative of what ISIS is,” he said.
“He is not part of ISIS, but a US sponsored terrorist group.”
Abdullah al-Kurdi, a Kurdish leader in Iraq and a close ally of Kurdish Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also said the claims were “absurd”.
“They don’t understand that he has no links to ISIS and is not the enemy of them,” he told Al-Monitor.
The US has been bombing ISIS targets since June 2015, when the group launched its first major attack on Iraqi Kurdistan.
More than a million Iraqis have been killed in the conflict.