I had wondered what had happened to Abu Musa Shishani, the Amir of Ansar a-Sham, a Syrian jamaat in Latakia.
I have recently learned that he is alive, still fighting, still the amir of Ansar a-Sham and has good relations with other North Caucasian groups in Latakia province. He just hates being photographed.
Abu Musa Shishani is also the cousin of Salakhuddin Shishani, but he had lived in Ingushetia.
North Caucasian fighters in Syria have commented on social media about Umar Shishani, with interesting reactions to comments by other fighters that Umar was not a good military commander. While the debate over Umar has been incredibly polarized, with anti-IS North Caucasians slamming him and IS mythologizing him (and reports in the Western press doing the same, more on that below), here we have some context from North Caucasians who experienced the conflict first hand. I have translated the comments below. Continue reading North Caucasian Fighters: Umar Shishani Was Brave, Honest & Talented Even If He Made Mistakes
The Chechen-led group Ajnad al-Kavkaz have issued a statement in Turkish on their website that condemns the 28 June 2016 terrorist bombing at Ataturk Airport. (Updated 9 July: the group has issued a longer statement in Russian setting out their position on the attack in Istanbul and on the 5 July bombing in Medina).
Continue reading UPDATED: Ajnad al-Kavkaz Issue Statement Condemning Istanbul Terror Attacks
BY PETER DERGACHEV & JOANNA PARASZCZUK
In the light of the current media storm over the rumors that Chechen IS militant Akhmad Chatayev was behind the recent terrorist bombings in Istanbul, we are sharing some more information about him and his activities in Syria here. This is not to confirm the rumors in any way, but simply to add some facts to an increasingly speculative conversation. Continue reading Akhmad Chatayev Led IS’s North Caucasian Badr Katiba In Kobani, With Heavy Losses
Ever since the first reports of Russian-speaking militants fighting in Syria emerged in the media, questions have been raised about the specter of “blowback” — i.e. what would happen if and when some of these militants returned home to wage “jihad” in the Russian Federation. Here is evidence of one militant who did return from Syria to Dagestan, where he was killed in a counter-terrorism operation and was suspected of preparing to commit terror attacks in that North Caucasus republic. Continue reading Umar Shishani’s Man Who Fought At Menagh, Then Was Killed In Dagestan
KavkazPress has published more details on Muslim Shishani’s earlier years, including some photos of him sans beard, some of which I cannot resist translating here. Some of the information KavkazPress has included is stuff I have already published in earlier posts, and I am not going to reproduce that here. Continue reading More About Muslim Shishani’s Early Years As a Militant In Ingushetia (With Pics!)
Khalid Shishani, an ethnic Chechen militant fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra, has written a letter warning that the IS group is winning the propaganda war among Russian-speaking Muslims and calling on his fellow non-IS jihadis to step up their game to reach Muslims (by which he means pro-jihadi Muslims of course) in Russia and particularly in the North Caucasus. Continue reading Khalid Shishani: IS is Winning the Propaganda War in Chechnya
Local media in Russia are reporting that the passport of a Russian militant, Andrey Karasik, has been found in Syria in areas liberated from IS by Kurdish militias. The suggestion is that Karasik and his wife and two children, also Russian converts, have been killed — though this is not proven. Continue reading How A Jewish Man & Professor’s Son From Volgograd, Nicknamed “Goldfish,” Joined IS
A few days ago, the news broke on IS social media that Abu Aisha Kazakhi, an IS militant from Kazakhstan, had been killed. Here are some of the facts I have gleaned about Abu Aisha in my several months of tracking him. Continue reading Who Was Abu Aisha Kazakhi, The Kazakh IS Militant Killed In Palmyra?
Said Buryatsky, a.k.a. Said Abu Saad, continues to be an important and influential figure in North Caucasian jihad circles, even after his death in 2010. Buryatsky is frequently mentioned by various North Caucasian groups in Syria — including North Caucasian factions in the Islamic State (IS) group, who employ his words and image often including as part of their attempts to legitimize their movement as a natural successor to the Caucasus Emirate. Continue reading An Note On How IS Chechens Use Said Buryatsky In Mythmaking