The rift between various Chechen and North Caucasian factions in Syria, which is already wide, appeared to deepen further on Wednesday, as FiSyria, the website aligned with Umar Shishani and Chechen fighters in the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham, published a scathing attack on Chechnya-based pro-Caucasus Emirate outlet Kavkaz Center.
FiSyria accused Kavkaz Center of waging a deliberate disinformation campaign against ISIS and for being responsible for the infighting between ISIS and Syrian Islamic brigades, saying that “deceived Muslims sit under the Taghut and don’t go to wage jihad because someone created a fitna to prove the “Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar” brand.”
The attack was catalyzed by a post on Kavkaz Center that accused ISIS of attacking Syrian brigades as they were fighting Assad.
Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA) was formerly led by Umar Shishani, ISIS’s military emir for Northern Syria, until he left the group to pledge allegiance to ISIS and its leader al-Baghdadi. The remainder of JMA remained loyal to the Caucasus Emirate, and has stayed neutral in the infighting against ISIS although its second in command, Abdu Karim Krymsky, has openly slammed ISIS, and ISIS outlet FiSyria has published videos claiming to show former JMA fighters leaving for ISIS. (JMA denied that the fighters in the videos had been a part of its ranks.)
That FiSyria has expanded its attacks to Kavkaz Center– which has favored JMA, and unsurprisingly so given JMA’s affiliation with the Caucasus Emirate– indicates that Chechens/ North Caucasians within ISIS are feeling marginalized and snubbed by their former Chechen comrades. Umar Shishani in particular, who was previously lauded as a great military leader, is barely mentioned by Kavkaz Center.
FiSyria has been pushing the line in recent weeks that ISIS is actively fighting the Assad regime, and that it is helping Syrian Islamic brigades to do so.
In its attack on Kavkaz Center, FiSyria writes:
Today, KC published an article saying that Al Qaeda in Syria [Jabhat al Nusra] was attacked on both sides. The author, who is careful that the Islamic State doesn’t suddenly get a positive image, outlined his thoughts in a standard manner for himself, first he told of the hard life of the Opposition in Syria, as the Mujahideen are fighting on all fronts, and then outlined the purpose of the article: cowardly ISIS strikes brave “soldiers of good.”
FiSyria also complains about a previous article by KC in which it set out its position regarding the infighting with ISIS and noted that it publishes information about various groups in Syria as it sees fit.
“Is this the face of the Caucasians?” FiSyria asks about KC.
The site adds, “As the face of the Caucasians they have disgraced themselves and many laugh at them, calling the Woof-Woof Center. [It’s a play on words: in Russian it’s Kav Kav Center]”
Featured image: Umar Shishani of ISIS