An informed source has said that the Крымский Джамаат (Crimean Jamaat) has pledged allegiance to Nusra. I am leaving the headline as a question, though, because I have not been able to confirm it by asking the Crimean Jamaat themselves or seeing a statement from them.
I wrote earlier: I have asked more sources for information, so will update as and when it comes in.
So here is the update in bold. Apologies for the disjointed nature of the post but this is a breaking story!
— There are TWO Crimean Jamaats in Syria.
— One is the very small group led by a fighter named Ramazan which split from JMA earlier this year and which has pledged bay’ah to Nusra according to sources in that group.
There is a second Crimean Jamaat which is with the Caucasus Emirate in Syria and which is led by Abdul Kerim Krymsky, who was JMA’s military emir. I can confirm that Krymsky is with the Caucasus Emirate in Syria.
Krymsky’s group has NOT sworn allegiance to Nusra.
Before everyone starts to get excited, the Crimean Jamaat (it’s Emir is named Ramadan and there’s a picture of him included with this post) is tiny and a large proportion of its handful of members are not from Crimea. It was part of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar until earlier this year when it broke away after some issues with JMA’s former military emir, Abdul Kerim Krymsky. (Krymsky’s whereabouts in Syria are still unknown, though he is alive and well. The major question for me is where Krymsky is and whether he pledged to Nusra (less likely given his history with JMA!)).
I have written a lot about the Crimean Jamaat in previous posts, which I have linked to below for background.
In the meantime, my attitude is let’s wait and see what new information comes in. This has been a week of wild rumors about “Chechen” groups in Syria, the craziest being that Muslim Shishani has a force of 700 men. Even JMA at its largest did not have 700 North Caucasian fighters, and Muslim’s group is hardly as large as JMA was back in the day. Please don’t believe rumors that fly around on social media!