Category Archives: Chechens In Syria

Muslim Shishani Makes Video Address About Situation In Latakia

Chechen militant Muslim Shishani, the Emir of the Latakia-based Junud al-Sham group, has made a new video address in which he talks of the difficult situation in Latakia province and calls on other mujahideen elsewhere in Syria as well as outside the country to come to assist in the fight.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 15.17.33

The video is seven minutes long.

It was released amid reports that the Syrian Arab Army has entered the rebel stronghold of Salma in Latakia assisted by Russian air strikes. (Though it seems that the video was made on January 10).

Here are a few of Muslim’s remarks:

— the situation [in Latakia province] is complex
— this is not because the enemy is very strong and we can’t do anything
— They brought their whole strength in order to knock us out of here
— and if you look at our numbers, they should have done that long ago
— But the small number of muhajideen here are doing the maximum possible

— We don’t understand it, it’s like we are cut off from the other part of Syria, no one is rushing to help us, even though there are enough mujahideen in Syria, the important thing is to distribute them properly
— We understand that there are difficult places there too [i.e. militants are struggling elsewhere in Syria]

Muslim then begins a rant addressed at those who are not coming to help fight in Latakia.

He says that on Judgement Day, people will be judged according to what they did or did not do.

He calls on the mujahideen to remember why they went out to jihad and come to “help their brothers.”

— “The brothers are overloaded to the max,” he says.

When his group had enough militants, they went to help in various situations, Muslim says.

Muslim talks about the difficulties his jamaat experienced because of the “fitna” with the IS group including difficulties in fundraising.

He said, “Мы стучались в двери ко многим, кто мог хоть как-то помочь удержать джамаат” — “we knocked on the doors of many [people] who could somehow help to maintain the jamaat.”

As a result of the financial difficulties, Muslim says he had to let many of his fighters go.

The fact that Muslim has admitted his financial difficulties and that his numbers have dwindled is significant. Reliable sources say that Muslim’s jamaat dwindled significantly — some say he has only around 30 North Caucasian militants. But this is a problem faced by other non-IS North Caucasian groups in Syria, mostly because of the rise of the IS group and its comparative recruitment and fundraising power. (Internal politics and squabbling also played a role — I have written about the reasons why Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar fell apart as a North Caucasian group elsewhere.)

Muslim also complains that people who say they want to wage jihad are not doing so because they are hearing that there is a fitna and that Muslims are killing each other or that there are not enough fighters in Syria.

“We find this difficult to understand,” Muslim says.

Muslim refers to a hadith in which Muhammad asks God to bless Sham (Syria) and Yemen.

“You are not going out [to jihad] at a time when the Ummah really needs you,” he said.

All of the jamaats are in a difficult position, Muslim adds.


A (Very) Short Bio of Khamza Shishani, Military Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

Ajnad al-Kavkaz, the Chechen-led militant group based in Latakia province, has posted some images and details about its military amir, Khamza Shishani, who like the group’s amir Abdul Hakim Shishani is a Chechen who fought in Chechnya before he came to Syria. Continue reading A (Very) Short Bio of Khamza Shishani, Military Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

BREAKING: Salakhuddin Shishani Removed As Emir Of Caucasus Emirate In Syria

Salakhuddin Shishani has been removed as the emir of the Caucasus Emirate in Syria, but the name of the group’s new emir has not yet been announced, sources said on December 3.

This is a developing story, more news as it happens.

Translation Of Muslim Shishani’s Interview With Al Jazeera Turkish

Muslim Shishani, the Emir of Junud al-Sham, a small Latakia-based North Caucasian group of about 30 North Caucasian militants*, has given an interview to Turkish-language Al-Jazeera, which someone has conveniently translated into Russian. So I have translated it into English. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the Russian translation from Turkish, and it sounds as clunky as heck, so caveat emptor. Continue reading Translation Of Muslim Shishani’s Interview With Al Jazeera Turkish

Katiba Sayfullah + JMA = Liwa Al-Muhajireen

One of the speculations that arose* when Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar joined Jabhat al-Nusra was whether the group’s dwindling number of Russian-speakers, mostly North Caucasians, would join Katiba Sayfullah, the Uzbek-led group that has a dwindling number of Russian speakers.

And the answer is — Continue reading Katiba Sayfullah + JMA = Liwa Al-Muhajireen

JMA Statement On Pledging Bay’ah To Jabhat Al-Nusra

Because I am a completist I have translated the statement given by Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA) on pledging allegiance to Jabhat al-Nusra. Continue reading JMA Statement On Pledging Bay’ah To Jabhat Al-Nusra

Now It’s Official: JMA Has Joined Jabhat al-Nusra

After months of speculation — well, since June when the group split, and the Caucasus Emirate (IK) in Syria left — Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar has joined Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

Before I translate the official announcement from White Minaret, Nusra’s Russian language media wing — which contains some FASCINATING information — here are a few points to bear in mind (based on questions I have been asked…):

Continue reading Now It’s Official: JMA Has Joined Jabhat al-Nusra

Ajnad Al-Kavkaz Deny Reports Syrian Army Killed Its Militants

Amid all the reports of the Russian military build up in Latakia, there have been rumors and reports in the Russian media relating to Chechen militants in Assad’s coastal stronghold province.

Chechen-led faction Ajnad al-Kavkaz have denied a report in Russia’s pro-Kremlin RIA Novosti that the Syrian Army has killed 19 of its militants. Continue reading Ajnad Al-Kavkaz Deny Reports Syrian Army Killed Its Militants

JMA Has (Another) New Emir, & He’s Saudi

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA), the formerly Chechen-led group based in Aleppo province, has elected yet another new emir, the second following the ouster of its former leader Salakhuddin Shishani in June. Continue reading JMA Has (Another) New Emir, & He’s Saudi

JMA Releases Its First Propaganda Video Following Salakhuddin’s Ouster

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar has released a new video, the first since the ouster of its former Emir, Salakhuddin Shishani. Continue reading JMA Releases Its First Propaganda Video Following Salakhuddin’s Ouster