Category Archives: Chechens In Syria

“Clash of Civilizations” – Muslim Shishani criticizes Western imperialism, Capitalism

In an essay for the Nohchicho website on 13 September, Muslim Shishani has criticized Western imperialism through the ages and argues that the West has committed horrific and bloody atrocities in the name of liberating countries, including in Syria, though he does not talk about Syria directly. Muslim also criticizes Western capitalism and liberalism.

I’ve translated, on the fly, his essay below. Continue reading “Clash of Civilizations” – Muslim Shishani criticizes Western imperialism, Capitalism

UPDATE Al Bara Pankisi, his wife & children confirmed alive in Syria

Update as of 16 September — Al Bara has been confirmed alive, as are his wife and children.

==

Another update, as of 5 p.m. BST on 2 September — it seems like Al Bara’s family in Pankisi are not 100% sure whether he is actually alive or not, since they only received one message that is definitely him but after that nothing.

They wanted to believe in the best possible outcome — some of them still believe in it. But others seem not so sure.

==

I don’t like updating posts because it is confusing for readers. Usually I would  make a new post. But in this case I will update this one,  not only because I want to report correct information but because it’s a good way to illustrate how confusing information from Syria is.

I reported, based on sources (social media and sources in Georgia) that Al Bara Pankisi, a Kist (ethnic Chechen) from the Pankisi Gorge in Syria, had been reported killed in Syria along with his pregnant wife and two children.  You can read my original post below. Al Bara was reported killed alongside his wife and two children when a car they were travelling in was shot at. The reason the news got out is because someone in Syria contacted Al Bara’s friends/relatives in Georgia and reported that it was him in the car. But last night his friends reported that they managed to talk to Al Bara and he and his family are alive and well. No one knows who was in the car, or whether it was a Chechen family or not.

So yes, Syria is a war zone and details of what is happening are often hard to verify, particularly when it comes to deaths. In this case, someone’s relatives and friends were led to believe that someone had been killed. Apart from the stress  of having a relative or friend in Syria, imagine what the past few days must have felt like for the relatives and friends of Al Bara!

Continue reading UPDATE Al Bara Pankisi, his wife & children confirmed alive in Syria

Translation: Abdulhakim, Salakhuddin & Muslim Shishani Address the Syrian People

On 4 August, Ajnad al-Kavkaz released* a video in Chechen with Russian subtitles featuring the jamaat’s amir Abdulhakim Shishani (read my recent interview with him here), Muslim Shishani (Amir of Junud al-Sham) and Salakhuddin Shishani** (Amir of Jaish Usro). The video is an address to the Syrian people and is a response to the recent and ongoing clashes between HTS and Ahrar al-Sham. I am writing a detailed analysis of the video for Jane’s looking at its significance and responses from various groups, so I will not give any analysis here,  but for fun I just did an on the fly translation of the Russian subtitles (I would have preferred to translate the Chechen but I can still only pick out a few words…).

Continue reading Translation: Abdulhakim, Salakhuddin & Muslim Shishani Address the Syrian People

Эксклюзив: интервью с АбдулХакимом Шишани, Амир Аджнада/ Exclusive: Interview With AbdulHakim Shishani, Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

Below is my interview with AbdulHakim Shishani, the Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz. English follows Russian.

As I have written before here and elsewhere, it is my belief that understanding the various foreign fighter groups in Syria is key to a deeper understanding not only of the conflict in that country, but also of other conflicts around the globe, including those in these fighters’ countries of origin. By gathering information over time, we can see how these conflicts are interconnected, and how one affects the other.

By avoiding discussing these questions,  refusing to examine these groups or  understand them, or indeed by oversimplifying them including by making assumptions based on what we would like to be true, or by avoiding knowledge about these groups’ motivations and beliefs, we are harming our ability to make sense of and address important issues that lead to war, conflict and displacement of peoples.  Here is the interview:

JP: Как Вы бы прокомментировали ситуации на Кавказе? Кажется, что ситуация там сильно изменилась с тех пор как Вы там воевали — ИК уж практически нету, амиры джамаатов присягнули ИГИШ итд… Continue reading Эксклюзив: интервью с АбдулХакимом Шишани, Амир Аджнада/ Exclusive: Interview With AbdulHakim Shishani, Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

“A Woman’s View” – essay by a Russian-speaking wife of a jihadi in Latakia

An essay written by a North Caucasian Russian-speaking woman and wife of a Russian-speaking jihadi formerly based in Latakia province in Syria (and not connected in any way with The Islamic State group) was posted on 8 July on the telegra.ph site. As part of my work I collect posts/essays/poems etc by Russian-speaking fighters — almost all of which are written by men. Because this is comparatively unusual I thought I’d quickly translate and share it. We don’t often get a glimpse of the lives of the Russian-speaking women who have accompanied their husbands to Syria — and the overwhelming majority of what has been written is about IS “jihadi brides” or women connected with IS in other ways.  Anyway the original piece has some rather fascinating  photos of the interior of the house that the woman describes, which I have also posted here.

Continue reading “A Woman’s View” – essay by a Russian-speaking wife of a jihadi in Latakia

‘Only the T-shirts are left’ – the Archaeology of Imarat Kavkaz in Syria

Even if I’m not posting publicly, apart from this brief post, I’ve been doing research on IK v Shame & the current situation. But I wanted to share this fantastic photo, which was taken very recently* and is of Imarat Kavkaz’s very first base in Haritan, Aleppo province. Continue reading ‘Only the T-shirts are left’ – the Archaeology of Imarat Kavkaz in Syria

Nohchicho’s Interview with Muslim Shishani

I’m working on something related to Muslim Shishani so as part of my preparation I typed out his interview with the Nohchicho website in English as I read it, & thought I’d post it here for non-Russian speakers. [I actually thought I had posted this about 10 days ago or more but then realized I forgot to hit Publish. It’s been an insanely busy month and I didn’t notice. Sorry!]

Continue reading Nohchicho’s Interview with Muslim Shishani

Interview & Letter from Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani

The Nohchicho website has undertaken and published an interview with Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani; Abdul Hakim also wrote a letter published on the same website in support of a rally in Strasbourg by Chechens on the anniversary of the 23 February 1944 mass deportations by Stalin.

I’m writing an analysis of these and as I was reading them and thinking about them I just typed them out in translation on the fly as I find that’s a good way to get space to think. Continue reading Interview & Letter from Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani