“Umar from the Caucasus” is Emir of Nusra’s Liwa Al-Muhajireen Wal-Ansar

Liwa al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (LMA), a predominantly Russian-speaking jamaat within Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) is led by “Umar from the Caucasus, “aka Umar al-Dagestani.

LMA consists of North Caucasian, Central Asian, Crimean Tatar (a very small number) and Arabic speaking militants and was formed from two groups: Sayfullakh Shishani’s Jamaat and what remained of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA) after that group joined JAN last year, following an exodus of North Caucasian militants after the ouster of its former emir Salakhuddin Shishani and his departure along with a group loyal to the Caucasus Emirate (IK).

Sayfullakh Shishani’s Jamaat was led by an ethnic Uzbek, Abu Ubaida al-Madani.

The LMA emir Umar al-Dagestani was military emir of JMA after the ouster of Salakhuddin. Umar has not shown his face on camera but is here pictured (with his face obscured) in a propaganda image posted by a pro-Nusra group on VK:

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These are photographs of LMA taken in southern Aleppo in September 2015, and show the jamaat is ethnically mixed — and very well equipped:

LMA Sept 2015 southern Aleppo

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A Crimean Tatar in LMA:

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