Syria: Umar Shishani’s Second-in-Command Slams Saudi Cleric al-Mohaisany & “Peace Initiative”

This is the third part of a series of audio addresses made by Abu Jihad Shishani, the second-in-command to Umar Shishani of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham.

In this address, Abu Jihad turns to foreign fighters from the North Caucasus in Syria, and asks them why they are not supporting ISIS in its battle against the insurgents.

Abu Jihad says that the reason ISIS is being attacked is because it is close to its goal of establishing a Caliphate.

The Chechen jihadi specifically addresses the attack on ISIS by Abdullah al-Mohaisany, a Saudi jihadi preacher who first traveled to Syria in 2013 and who has carried out fundraising and propaganda efforts for Salafi jihadist factions in Syria including Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

On January 23, Mohaisany put forward a peace effort, the Umma Initiative, which was endorsed by all the main factions in Syria and some outside the country; however ISIS slammed the effort, saying insurgents first needed to distance themselves from democracy and Western-backed groups like the Free Syrian Army.

In an audio statement on February 2, Mohaisany said that certain ISIS groups had deviated from the Salafi-jihadist ideology and called on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to pack up and return to Iraq.

Address to Brother-Mujahideen In the Lands Of Sham

Brothers, really, can’t you see what’s going on around you? Brothers are being killed before your eyes, and you’re still participating with those devils in operations. Their leaders openly work with America and Saudi. We’ve said more than once that the day will come when there will only be two armies left – the army of Rahman and the army of the Devil. The Prophet, talking of trials and fitna, said, “They will continue until such time as everything is divided into two camps: the camp of faith, where there won’t be any infidels, and the camp of infidels where there won’t be any faithful”.

Brothers, those times are coming and it is time to chose your camp. Look, who is firing against us and to which camp do they belong?

That dog Hayani, who you yourself stormed yesterday with us, and whose crimes you saw with your own eyes. Now, when they and other dogs, like Afash, Ma’arouf, have attacked us, why has this suddenly turned into a fitna between Muslims, and you don’t want to take part in it?

I want to remind you of the story of the three oxen, who were eaten in turn by a lion. You all know that story really well, right? Now I want to ask you, “What, do you really think that your turn won’t come?” It is as clear as day that you’ve been left alone for now, so as not to fritter away strength. Do you really think that they won’t get to Jabhat al Nusra, whom they consider to be Al Qaeda?

Of course not, they don’t want to leave a single Mujahid on this Earth, who wants to establish Sharia. Just like they did in Bosnia, in Chechnya, in Tajikistan and other places of jihad. They used the Muhajireen (foreign fighters) for their own national interests, and after the victory they mopped them up and chucked them out.

And why? Well, because the Mujahideen who liberated territory from the infidels did not establish their authority on it, the authority of Sharia, but went on further to liberate new territories, leaving the establishment of Sharia until later. And in that time, the infidels sent hypocrites onto the liberated lands and they set up their laws through them. They stabbed the Mujahideen in the back and left them between two fires.

ISIS will not repeat those mistakes. We have started to try to establish Sharia on each bit of land on which it has authority. Exactly for that reason the whole world pounced on ISIS, because it took the right path toward establishing an Islamic State. And it is precisely that path that will lead to the establishment of a Caliphate, which is so hated by the infidels and hypocrites.

Therefore, brothers, let each of you remember Judgement Day, on which each of you will be asked about your actions, what you did and whether his brothers were killed before your eyes. What did he do to establish the Caliphate? And let no one thing that your Amir will reply for you, because on that terrible day even the prophets will say, Nafsi, Nafsi (myself, myself). And no one will be able to say, an Amir ordered us….

Allah ordered us in the Quran, saying: And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

How can this verse be revealed in our time, for ourselves? Look at our recent past in the Caucasus. We, really, were enemies with each other, we hated each other. The hatred was between the Karachays and the Cherkessys, between the Kabardians and Balkars, the Ingush and the Ossetians, and in Dagestan they had their own infighting. And all these disputes were used by the infidels to weaken our forces. According to the principle, divide and rule, that’s an old maxim, but they are still using it to this day.

And when we by the grace of Allah crossed these national barriers and became brothers, and we started fighting in one rank, satins from among the jinns and people came to use with another ploy, exactly the same, but they just changed it a bit . Now instead of nations they started to talk about lands, “don’t you have your own land, your own state, you need to fight there”.

Someone might say, but what about the verse: “Fight those polytheists who are closer to you?” Yes, with those who are closest to you. And who is closer to you right now? Does it say the polytheists of your nation, or those on your land? No, it says, “with those who are closest to you”. Someone tells you: “Look, they have an improper state.” You ask, how does it differ from ours in the Caucasus? If they say that they have made an improper oath, ask, and did we have a proper one at home? Anyone who tells you that at home he had an oath to fight is a liar. Because it is the same oath to the ruler of the state, and of the Emirate.

Someone will say, that they are fighting with the Muslims, you tell them, “and when you went to Dagestan, didn’t you fight the militias?”, all the more so give that there we attacked and here they attacked us.

They will say, “they are making takfir with the secular guys”. Ask them what they would say to the Ichkerians of Zakayev and his gang?

Brothers, we have never been so close to our goal of establishing the Caliphate, as we are now. The infidels understood that even faster than some Muslims, so everyone attacked us together. We need to stand. And if you do not support us in this battle, you will be judged for that on the Day of Judgement! And remember again, on that day no one will answer for you except yourself.

So let’s consider the road map of measures set out by Mohaisany.

First, who is Mohaisany?

This is a man who, as we have already mentioned, is of the category of those who are close to the border, who like to be photographed in trucks, with machine guns, grenade launchers, different kinds of weapons.

And on the battlefield for some reason they are not visible.

And we have not heard that he was somewhere nearer to the battlefields.

But he really likes to mention the errors of ISIS and to hide the mistakes of others. Though he is doing very nicely, and says he wants a truce, reconciliation, etc. but somehow in his map all the points are such that he wants to talk about mistakes and conceal some other errors.

It’s enough that he contradicted himself several times.

First, when the news spread that dishonored sisters, he came with the announcement that he personally went to the command of the FSA and asked, he was told that it was a lie, they do not have all the sisters. And on this basis, he made ​​an appeal, it’s all lies, rumors , etc. That the FSA refuted this not confirmed.

Then, after a while on Twitter he refutes himself and says, ” No, really, there have been cases, I am sorry, and so on.” Then time passes, and now he makes his last appeal.

These troublemakers moved fast, 24 hours had not even passed, they made a translation and put on their site, in general, trying to be seen, trying to rekindle the fire of fitnah.

And they do it all with a regretful , compassionate view that here they are so worried about the fitnah and they themselves are sitting every second waiting on some news, some provocation. Sometimes throwing between the lines a bunch of information to make it appear that they are not only interested in this.

So what did he say in his last address? He says Dawla (ISIS) refused a truce, etc…

He made a condition for reconciliation — justice. The very conditions that they offer do not come anywhere close to justice. That’s one thing, the second is when they say stop the firing, stop the bloodshed. We have already offered it three times. I have said and I repeat again, because this is important…

As for reconciliation – that is the second question that needs to be studied and done right, you need to see who will do it, who will reconcile, and who will judge. For local judges , I already told you, who are the judges. I’m not saying that there is no one who can judge, but we must first see who will judge. That’s why ISIS put a condition to offer this Mohaisany. For which he said that ISIS set an impossible condition that is not in the Sharia, etc.

There were 2 conditions:

1. That all parties, including the party that called to judge between us, indicated their position relating to the West.

2. That they indicated their position to criminal regimes of the taghut Arabs, ie Saudi, Qatar and others.

With these two conditions their plans collapsed. Why , because they had to either say that they do not make takfir with taghut states or that they are their friends, not enemies. Either they had to say as it is, and then their cowboy leader would stop all the help and all will be against them. Naturally, they could not afford neither the one nor the other…

Abu Jihad says that the attempts at reconciliation are really an effort to expel ISIS from Syria.

He then adds that Russian-language sites such as Beladusham are really created by Israeli intelligence with Russian-speaking agents, who want to spread fitna in Syria.

Abu Jihad says that he has doubts about the veracity of other statements made by other jihadi leaders including Abu Qatada al-Filistini and Abu Mohammad al Maqdisi:

We have serious doubts that these references belong to them, as they are in prison in Jordan. And Jordan, as we know, it is the strongest among all the Mukhabarat Arab countries. It is difficult to imagine that they are almost daily spreading their thoughts, their letters, etc. and that there is no obstruction and interference.

Chechen Leader Kadyrov Praises Death of “Wahhabi Satan Bandit Gangster” Sayfullakh Shishani

The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, wrote a message on his Instagram account on the death of Chechen jihadi Sayfullakh Shishani in Syria on Thursday.

The Instagram post appears to have since been removed.

Kadyrov named Sayfullakh as Ruslan Machalikashvili.

“Today, when attempting another robbery of civilians in Syria’s Aleppo, the Wahhabi Satan Ruslan Machalikashvili (Sayfullakh) was blown up and met his end,” Kadyrov wrote according to the Russian media.

Kadyrov added that Sayfullakh was “one of the ringleaders of a gang of Wahhabis in Syria, who murder of innocent people, as well as carry out the looting, and desecration of Islamic holy places”.

“Machalikashvili expressed interest on the Internet about where Kadyrov’s special forces, as requested, would be sent to him. The bandit did not know that Kadyrov’s special forces may be on each piece of land, ready to explode under the feet of devils, no matter where they are. The appeal was heard apparently by Satan and death overtook he gangster, who was hastily buried, rather than being buried in a ceremony! You get what you deserve,” Kadyrov added.

The Chechen leader was apparently referring to video messages made by Sayfullakh in which he threatened to come and attack Kadyrov after he had finished establishing a Caliphate in Syria.

Syria: A Chechen Fighter’s Eulogy To Sayfullakh Shishani

Beladusham, the website close to Chechen fighter Sayfullakh Shishani, has published a eulogy following his death on Thursday during a battle against Syrian forces in the Aleppo Central Prison.

The story of Sayfullakh, Umar Shishani’s former second-in-command in the faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, shows the diversity of opinion and loyalties among Chechen fighters in Syria.

Like Umar, Sayfullakh was an ethnic Chechen from the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia. Unlike Umar, according to sources, he had no fighting experience before he went to Syria.

Video and photographic evidence indicates that Sayfullakh did not go directly to Syria but spent some time in Turkey.

The eulogy, written by Abdul Khalim Shishani, offers some more insight into Sayfullakh’s past. He is described as an “unusual character” who lived half his life as a criminal and racketeer before turning to religion and traveling to Syria.

Aleppo Central Prison was a place that Sayfullakh aimed at a long time ago, and many of you will obviously remember this from his appeals, and now Allah in His wisdom and mercy has granted him martyrdom during the latest assault to liberate our imprisoned brothers and sisters. Yes Allah will accept you, O our dear brother, and yes he will introduce you to the paradise gardens of which you talked with such an unusual, memorable laugh, anticipating all this, and encouraging your brothers to rush to it,…

He was a very interesting and unusual personality. A man who half his life was a criminal, a racketeer, ignorant and profane who little by little began to straighten himself out and heeded the call of his Lord. And this chapter of his life, exactly coincided with the cries of children, the tears of women, and the calls of the men of Sham (Syria) to help the Muslim Ummah…

Sayfullakh hit the road immediately. Right from the start, he was directly involved in the hottest and unequal military operations and became known as a fearless lion. Several times he got injuries of varying severity. He became known throughout the entire Russian-speaking Ummah who were looking for news of Sham, thanks to his fiery video messages to them. Some of them made fun of him and some slandered him.

Yes, he was not perfect, he had flaws like everyone, and his biggest problem was that he didn’t know how to hide them like everyone else does. His extreme simplicity and openness created many problems for him in cooperating with people, some of whom later used it against him…

Rumors that he was a “common jahili and deceiver”, which for my part I heard from “common jails and deceivers” before I got to know him, quickly dissipated after my personal dealings with him. He gave huge attention to audio recordings that he listened to in the car when he was on various journeys and had time, he remembered a lot and practiced it himself and encouraged others by retelling it.

You know, in one day, a month or even a year, people with a past don’t immediately change everything totally. Even for the companions (of Mohammad) it was not an easy task, not to mention for us. So to blame him for it was unfair to say the least. But certainly in one thing, he was definitely superior to most of those who ridiculed him or disliked him. He personally took up arms and participated in the battles against the enemies of Allah, and had a clear idea about democracy and other Taghut modernity and their contradictions to Tawheed…

I have to admit that I myself was once one of those who said that he had a noticeable love for fame and for leadership. When I was asked about him until the fitnah between him and Umar, and after it, I told the guys that Sayfullakh is a good brother, simple and eager to work for the cause of Allah, but his desire for fame and leadership is ruining it, despite his sincerity in this case and justifying it all to benefit the religion of Allah … But praise be to Allah, my opinion of him was wrong and baseless and finally I saw this 2 months ago, when he told me about his intention to join Jahbat al Nusra, his manhaj is not in doubt.

I praised Allah and asked him for forgiveness for my words and for his opinion about him. With this step, he proved that he does not care about being an amir and that he was ready to be a subject for the sake of Allah, he proved that he was not concerned about fame and money that intelligence services and government scholars would be willing to offer him for rejecting and alienating from the Jamaat and he was sincerely seeking the revival righteous Caliphate without flirting with the infidels and hypocrites in their games.

Sayfullakh’s jamaat had over 500 Mujahideen and they all supported him in the oath to Jabhat al-Nusra and stood under its banners. Apparently Allah ordained him to make this important step before he took him, to thus increase his reward and raise it to a level in paradise…

There are hundreds of interesting cases and examples of his courage and sense of humor and relationship with the brothers, but I think the brothers of his Jamaat are working on that, and we on our part are adding to it. Let the ummah know his heroes, how they lived and how they parted with this world….

Umar Shishani’s Second-in-Command in ISIS Slams Scholars Who “Sow Discord” & Don’t Fight

Abu Jihad, Umar Shishani’s second-in-command in the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, has made a series of audio addresses about the fighting between ISIS and insurgents.

In his first address, Abu Jihad explains how the fighting started and how the Islamic State of Iraq expanded into Syria.

This address is directed to Islamic scholars. In it, Abu Jihad slams those scholars who he says have sown discord among ISIS fighters and other groups. He particularly talks about Sheikh Abu Basir Tartusi, a Syrian cleric and jihadist theoretician, who lives in Britain but who has claimed to have fought in Syria. In January, shortly after the fighting between ISIS and insurgent groups began, Tartusi issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to fight ISIS, whom he said were Kharijites, a sect distinct from Shia and Sunni Muslims.

I have translated the address below. Russian speakers may listen to it here:

Address to Scholars

Having read the addresses of various scholars, we unfortunately understand that they totally don’t get it about what is going on here. Maybe because information gets to them in a distorted way, because some of them are held captive, and their access to information is limited.

Maybe Allah closed some of their eyes to the truth. As there isn’t a single person who is safe from going astray. I myself saw in Egypt, sheikhs who for 30 years had a Salafi calling, and had been through jail and repressions for that path. Eventually, after Mubarak’s rule ended, Allah educated them so they’d call people to jihad and establish an Islamic state in Egypt. Bu instead of that they went down the path of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned for 30 years. Moreover, some of them personally took part in the creation of a new taghut (idolatrous) constitution in the Morsi government.

But Allah showed us and the whole world what comes of expelling Sharia. Allah humiliated and lowered them.

I gave that example because there is no one who is secure in this world. After all for 30 years they taught people tawhid, and in the end they wound up writing a taghut constitution.

Thus, I have a comment for our sheikhs. Just forgive me, if I am harsh, but after all if they give comments to our brother mujahideen, then they should accept them as well. Why are they not on the battlefield? Why are they making fatwas from their countries? If they were here, they’d see the situation of the mujahideen better and they’d guide them.

But this is an eternal problem. Everyone wants to guide us from afar. Aren’t they afraid that they’ll be among those about whom Allah said, why are you telling others that which you don’t do yourselves? Or among those about whom he said, you’re urging people to do good, forgetting yourselves at the same time as you read the Book? Or even worse, among the hypocrites about whom Allah said, they want to be far away from you and only to hear news about you.

Yes, some of them were in jail. But has Allah not shown them mercy, by releasing them? Why then do they not come out? Why do they wait until they are captured again? By Allah, there are sheikhs and brothers, who after jail immediately moved out here, using fake passports and by illegally crossing the border and so on, even though they were under surveillance. There are many ways for those who sincerely want to get here. It has never been so easy to get to the jihad as it is now.

But there are those among them who, having come here, make such a fitna that you think “it would have been better if they had not come at all”. They travel through the jamaats, sowing fitna between them. They’re photographed with weapons someplace on the Turkish border, and after that they write, “Sheikh Mujahid”, although the don’t get any closer to the battlefield.

One of them is the famous Sheikh Tartusi. I didn’t want to name names, but that man crosses every line and people need to know who he really is.

To Russian-speaking Muslims he became well-known for several fatwas supporting the Caucasus Emirate. And everyone immediately revered him, accepting unconditionally everything he said.

Even though we know that some infidels said things supporting the Muslims of the Caucasus Emirate, it’s not a reason to accept them as an authority.

I myself also respected him and considered him knowledgable, but this impression of him disintegrated after my first meeting him. He sowed discord among the jamaats. In the first meeting with us, he started to reproach Jabhat al Nusra, and enumerated their deficiencies. At the same time he absolutely did not endure disputes even with students, he started to get anxious, and go crazy when he was shown proofs for errors in his position. Is this how scholars conduct themselves?

In this manner, he roamed from one base of mujahideen to another, sowing discord. And we don’t know of a single occurrence when he participated in any battle. Though there are enough pictures on the internet where he’s posing with a weapon. And everywhere he’s called a Sheikh-Mujahid.

There’s also doubt about the fact that he lives in the UK and easily travels to Syria and back again. When brothers and sisters in the UK who even want to go to Turkey are arrested on suspicion that they want to go to the jihad in Syria, not to mention those brothers who return there. They are immediately put in the slammer, and now they’ve started stripping them of British citizenship, and only after that they’re put in jail. That’s done so they won’t have any rights. So how can a famous Sheikh-Mujahid just travel to and from Britain?

But all this would never have been a reason for our conversation about him. The real reason for this was his inhuman fatwa, where he calls for the Muslims of Sham to spill the blood of the Mujahideen of ISIS, and guarantees them entry into Paradise. And all the Mujahideen of ISIS that they kill, will go to Hell. And he unscrupulously made a proof of the commandment to fight Kharajites. And he hasn’t made a single proof that ISIS are the Kharajites. So that man is maybe a planted worker of the intelligence services, and you know how the special forces like to meddle in fitna. Or he’s a driveling idiot who has no knowledge of Sharia….

In the end of this address to scholars, let’s recall again. We did not start this fitna, we have not attacked anyone!! We were attacked, on our half empty bases, at home, when there was no one there apart from women and kids! So why don’t you address those perfidious traitors? No matter how you tried to say that this address was for everyone. It was obvious that it was for us. So fear Allah, and be fair, and if you want to talk about mistakes, talk about everyone, you don’t have to apportion blame for mistakes to just one side and reduce the mistakes of others. We called for an end to this fitna three times.

And let him who is able to, carry this message to those sheikhs.

Syria: Umar Shishani’s Right-Hand Man Explains ISIS-Insurgent Conflict

Abu Jihad Shishani, Umar Shishani’s second-in-command in the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, has made several long audio addresses explaining ISIS’s position and events regarding the conflict between the faction and insurgents. Continue reading Syria: Umar Shishani’s Right-Hand Man Explains ISIS-Insurgent Conflict

Islamic Front Condemn Umar Shishani & ISIS “Treachery” Over Suicide Bombing in Ar-Raei on Turkish Border

A document circulated on the internet claims to be an official condemnation by the Islamic Front of the “treachery” of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham and its military leader, Umar Shishani, following the battle over the town of ar-Raei on the Turkish border.

Last week, ISIS tried to claim ar-Raei from insurgents, having withstood an attack by Turkish forces as it advanced on the town:

The document claims that following the battle, the Islamic Front and other groups accepted a cease-fire. Umar Shishani then said he would send an emissary to meet the other parties. However, the emissary was a suicide bomber who set off his explosives, killing several insurgents.

The English translation of the document:

Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are those who have disbelieved, and they will not [ever] believe –
The ones with whom you made a treaty but then they break their pledge every time, and they do not fear Allah. So if you, [O Muhammad], gain dominance over them in war, disperse by [means of] them those behind them that perhaps they will be reminded.
(Al Anfal 55-57)

On Sunday 02/02/2014, after the organization of “The State of al-Baghdadi” (Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham) failed to capture the city of ar-Raei, and after some of them were taken prisoner and killed, Umar Shishani sent a message to the military commanders, telling them that he would send them one of the authorized Sharia delegate of “The State of al-Baghdadi,” to explain to them the true nature of the battle going on, and to hold talks for ending bloodshed, and a ceasefire.

After the military leaders agreed, and they guaranteed security and agreed on a ceasefire agreement — and held to it — this Sharia-authorized delegate breached the contract and covenant, and blew himself up among the leaders gathered for talks.

And present in this meeting were leaders of the Islamic Front and the al-Fatah command and the as-Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih Brigade. And the result of this treacherous action was the murder of the following Mujahideen: Abdul-Malik Hadaba Islam, Muhammad Dirbas, Nurs, Yusuf ad-Daj, as-Sayyyad, Shaykh Ahmad al-Fayad, Abdus Salam as-Sun.

Therefore, we emphasize the following:

After all the initiatives that we put forward to protect the blood that we have advanced only because we considered them Muslims, and after their violation of treaties and agreements, while Allah says: “Keep the same contract! — after all, we notify everyone who follows the path of the Assad regime in the shedding of blood of Muslims without right — whether it be the State of al-Baghdadi or Hezbollah and others — that we in place of those of us who are murdered we will (kill) a thousand, and that we will no longer comply with contractual obligations in relation to them or those related to them, and we capture them with an iron grip, and the “State” will learn the truth of our threats, and you will see and hear it.

And also we make a last appeal to those groups who chose to stay and observe neutrality — explain your position in relation to this criminal organization. And we look to the Muslim scholars — explain the nature of this organization, if you want to justify your knowledge before Allah.

“And there is no hostility except toward the wicked”

Mujahideen of the Northern Province of Aleppo (Islamic Front).

(Featured image: Umar Shishani)

Chechen-Led Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar Storm Assad Forces In Kafr Hamra

A Russian-language video posted on Monday shows claimed footage of Chechen and North Caucasian fighters from the Chechen-led faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar attacking regime forces in Kafr Hamra, northwest of Aleppo city.

Map showing location of Kafr Hamra:

The video, shot on a cellphone, first shows insurgents praying. Later, there is gunfire. One masked insurgent speaks to camera in Russian, saying that he has a message for the “brothers of the Caucasus Emirate”, saying that Allah knows why they are fighting the “infidels” in Syria and that they plan to return home one day. The fighter says that he and his fellow fighters are helping in Syria.

A second fighter addresses “those who are sitting at home” when “real men” are fighting. He says that victory will be theirs.

The latter part of the video shows more of the attack.

There have been reports that Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, led by an ethnic Chechen with the nom de guerre Saladhuddin Shishani, has cooperated with other insurgent factions including from the Free Syrian Army to fight regime forces. It is not clear from this video whether Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar is fighting alone or with another faction or factions.

The group was previously led by Umar Shishani, now the military Amir of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s Northern branch. When Umar swore an oath to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi last year, those of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar who had already sworn loyalty to the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokku Umarov, split from him.

Salahuddin Shishani has condemned the fighting between ISIS and insurgent factions, saying that he would not participate in it and vowing to fight the regime instead.

FSA Surrounded By Chechen Factions In Aleppo Amid Ongoing Chaos In Battle Against ISIS?

A new report put out Tuesday by FiSyria, a website close to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s Chechen military Emir Umar Shishani, has added to the complexities and shifting lines of the ongoing battle between ISIS and other insurgents.

The latest report from FiSyria says that ISIS has fought with “the Free Syrian Army, Nuraddin az-Zinki and the Islamic Front” in Kafr Hamra.

Earlier this week, I noted reports that the independent Chechen faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar had cooperated with a Syrian faction, Nuraddin az-Zinki, to fight regime forces in Kafr Hamra north of Aleppo city. The latest of those reports, put out on Sunday, said that the insurgents had succeeded in pushing the regime out of Kafr Hamra. However, while the reports said that Jaish was fighting with Nuraddin az-Zinki, it is more plausible that the factions were merely fighting in the same area or that Jaish was pushing into territory captured by the FSA brigade.

The new report by FiSyria points to the latter: that Jaish were in the same area, and that when ISIS attacked Nuraddin az-Zinki near Kafr Hamra they did not take part in the fighting either with ISIS or against them.

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar is led by Salahuddin Shishani, who took over the faction in November after Umar Shishani swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi, taking with him a group of his men. Those of Jaish who had already sworn allegiance to the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokku Umarov, refused to join Umar in ISIS, though Jaish has fought alongside ISIS previously.

Salahuddin Shishani has also condemned the fighting between ISIS and other insurgents, saying that he would not participate and preferred to fight the regime. His former comrade-in-arms and Umar’s former second-in-command in Jaish, Sayfullakh Shishani — who has sworn an oath to Jabhat al-Nusra — has also condemned the infighting and there are reports that he has also taken part in battles against the regime.

One likely explanation for the battle could be that after Nuraddin az-Zinki, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar and other groups fought the regime in Kafr Hamra, either separately (as is most likely) or together, they encountered ISIS forces to the south of the city and a fight ensued.

The report reads:

On the morning of January 27, the Free Syrian Army attempted an attack on Kafr Hamra in the suburbs of Aleppo.

Groups of the FSA and Islamic Front such as Nuraddin Zinki and Ahmad Afash, threw their main forces against the southern part of Babis in the outskirts of Ma’aret Artik, where the day before they were kicked out by infidel troops (regime forces — Ed), and tried to break through a Mujahideen stronghold from the rear.

The attack was carried out on the northern, northwestern and western flanks. The enemy (i.e. Nuraddin az-Zinki — Ed) used tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, mortars, ZUs (Zenitnaya Ustanovka — anti-aircraft mounts), DUSHKas. Fire from heavy guns was conducted both with aiming and randomly, hitting civilian parts of the city (Hraytan, Anadan).

The brothers fought off the Anadan offensive by hitting the flank of the advancing (FSA).

In Ma’aret Artik, maneuvers managed to encircle the enemy.

Our forces have conducted three suicide operations, destroyed part of the enemy armored tanks, 80 people were pushed to the surrounding area, dozens were shot while fleeing from the battlefield, is still unknown exactly how many were taken prisoner.

The prisoners claim that they are part of Jabhat al-Nusra. We can only guess that it’s a lie, or another group from the FSA swore an oath to Jabhat al-Nusra as cover for their deeds.

A counterattack was staged at night. The results will be announced later. All territory was freed.

The fighting continues.

Details Of Umar Shishani & ISIS Attack On Manbij

FiSyria, the site close to Chechen leader and Islamic State of Iraq Amir Umar al-Shishani, has published fresh details of ISIS’s attack on the town of Manbij in Aleppo Province.

(Updated 1/25/2014 — the video from FiSyria has now been uploaded onto YouTube and we have embedded it below.)

(Updated: FiSyria have clarified that the “Salahuddin” mentioned in their original post is Salahuddin al-Turki, ISIS’s military Amir of Raqqa.)

According to FiSyria, ISIS are now in control of the town. A video published by FiSyria includes footage taken on January 23 of a drive through the town by Umar’s men, intended to that the ISIS faction has captured it. The footage shows what appear to be relatively normal scenes in the town. We see one “checkpoint”, where an armed man has stopped a car in the town and appears to be asking the driver for identification. There is a gathering in an open space in the town, outside a mosque, where we can see an ISIS banner propped up on the ground. The cameraman shows us shots of a man working on an electricity pole in the town, the (barely audible) commentary in Russian says, “that’s one of us”.

The video says that within a day, ISIS had reconnected water and electricity supplies to the town.

FiSyria provide some interesting new details, including that ISIS’s military Amir of Raqqa, Salahuddin al-Turki (“Salahuddin the Turk”), was also involved in the fight.

FiSyria writes:

On the morning of January 22, Umar al-Shishani’s column attacked a checkpoint from the southern part of the entrance to the town. Around 15 people were killed. The cowards fled, and left at least five of their bases, with all their belongings: ammunition, cars, equipment, offices etc. The group led by Salahuddin al-Turki (the military Amir of the town of Raqqa) came from the northwestern side. As we were told by local residents, they left by car in the direction of the Turkish border.(It seems “they” refers to the insurgents whom ISIS was fighting and not to al-Turki.)

Checkpoints were placed in the town, complete checks are being carried out on membership in the group of bandits, water and electricity has been restored.

We met with one Russian-speaking Syrian who told us that “until the fall of their bases the local Imams in the mosques say that ISIS are murderers, they would rape our women and steal our property. On that pretext they took money from simple folk for the battle against you”.

For the two days until the capture of Manbij all these puppets left Syria and went to Istanbul.

(Featured Image: Claimed image of Manbij after its capture by ISIS)

Chechen Jihadi Sayfullakh Slams “Fitna” Between ISIS & Insurgents

Ethnic Chechen jihadi Sayfullakh Shishani, the former second-in-command of Umar Shishani, has released a 24-minute video in which he criticizes the fighting in Syria between the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and other insurgents, including the Islamic Front.

Sayfullakh split from Umar in Summer 2013, when both were still members of the largely Chechen and North Caucasian faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, after the latter accused him of “fitna” (sedition).

However, it is likely the split was largely ideological, with some Chechen fighters disagreeing with Umar’s growing closeness to ISIS. In November, Umar formally swore an oath to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leaving Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar. Meanwhile, Sayfullakh and his group of men joined Jabhat al-Nusra. Both Sayfullakh and Umar acted contrary to other Chechen and North Caucasian fighters, who chose to retain loyalty to the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokku Umarov.

Despite this, Sayfullakh, who like Umar is an ethnic Chechen from the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, has retained an emotional connection to the conflict in Chechnya, threatening the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, in a recent video address.

In this new video, Sayfullakh also addresses the situation in Chechnya, saying that the leadership has damaged the Chechen people by refusing to establish the correct version of Islam and by allowing secular and even Christian symbols to appear in the country. Once again, Sayfullakh threatens Kadyrov, and calls on Chechens to rise up against him.

Sayfullakh — who chose to fight in Syria rather than Chechnya, likely because the security situation in the North Caucasus meant that it was far easier to reach Syria via Turkey than to fight in Chechnya — relates his position in Syria, which he describes as part of a struggle by Muslims against the “infidels”, as connected to the struggle in Chechnya and beyond.

Notably, Sayfullakh distinguishes between the “jihad” that he believes he is waging on the ground in Syria, and between the ideology of jihad discussed by Islamic scholars or jihadi thinkers. He uses a phrase we have noticed elsewhere in recent writings and expressions of North Caucasian jihadis in Syria, saying he has no interest in “what one sheikh says to another sheikh”.

I want to talk about the fitna in the land of Sham.

I am very unsatisfied with this fitna.

We didn’t want this fitna to happen.

We are in the midst of brothers, we are all brothers together, we all help each other.

Sayfullakh says that the fitna is being carried out by the “Jaish al-Hur”, (the FSA — he pronounces the name incorrectly the first time and conflates the FSA with the Islamic Front and other non-ISIS groups), and that there have been rumors that he had taken part in the fighting against the FSA.

Sayfullakh strongly denied this.

I don’t fight against the Islamic Front, I don’t fight against ISIS, I don’t fight against anyone, I only want to fight against the infidels….

Sayfullakh says that the fighting has caused Allah to intervene in events in Syria, to the detriment of him and other jihadis:

When we came here earlier, Allah liberated a great deal of territory for us. Now it’s the opposite, the infidels are kicking us out…. This place that we took, the infidels just kicked us out. In our jamaat, 120 people were wounded. Stop this fitna, Subhana’llah!”

Sayfullakh says that the sides should “sit down and talk and decide things”.

He emphasizes that everyone involved — the Free Syrian Army, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Islamic Front and ISIS — should all fight against the infidels.

The infidels are advancing every day! Every day! They took the ribat (the front)… I am in Jabhat al-Nusra. Thank Allah, Jabhat al-Nusra looks after us. Every day. How much they want to help us, to help our sisters,” he says.

Sayfullakh says that many of “the brothers” had left.

He appears to refer to the closure of the Turkish border, saying that “the closing” had affected the entry of fighters into the country.

“We don’t want this fitna. We want this fitna to end. We want all the Muslims to stand together,” he says, adding that all believing Muslims are his brothers.

Everyone who fights for Allah, they are our brothers. Everyone who fights for democracy, they are infidels.

Even if his father was Bin Laden, he is still an infidel.

Everyone who fights against the Muslims is an infidel. This is my motto.

We are not afraid of anyone apart from Allah. We would not even be afraid of Bin Laden. We want the religion of Allah to be established on this land…

Some of our brothers are on this side, some are on that side, I don’t know who is going to sort this out, we already left to a new place and we are waiting for news.

Sayfullakh calls on his listeners to pray that the Caliphate and Sharia Law will be established in Syria, and that Muslims would then emigrate and resettle there.

Sayfullakh then switches to the issue of women, saying that the women living among them were afraid and some had been taken prisoner.

He says the fighting only benefits the “infidels”.

Stop the fighting for Allah’s sake! The infidels want us to fight each other. We don’t want this war! Let’s free our sisters! Let’s free our children! Children who are in prison…

Sayfullakh says that those who do not do so must say to themselves, “you are not a Muslim, you are not a man”. He adds that thousands of women have been taken prisoner.

He now makes a wider address to Muslims, saying that they should stand up and fight the infidels, whether they are in “Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Uzbekistan”.

Wherever you are, fight against the infidels! They will annihilate us. They must be killed. Their democratic regimes must be removed and the law of lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh’ (There is No God But Allah) must be established.

Sayfullakh then leads his men in a takbir.

Sayfullakh now has a few words to add about Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and makes an address to the Chechen people.

What type of man is he? You have humiliated us, for God’s sake. What kind of Islam is it? You put up a Grandfather Frost (the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus, considered a Christian symbol). What sort of Presidents have we had?

Sayfullakh says that all the Chechen presidents have humiliated the Chechen people, including by “putting up Grandfather Frosts and reciting poetry”.

He calls on the Chechen people to arise and fight the infidels, and addresses Kadyrov, saying that he, Sayfullakh Shishani, will kill him.

He is not afraid, he notes:

Only Allah can kill me. Nobody else can kill me… Now I am addressing the Muslims. Stand up and kill these infidels. They are killing our sisters. They are killing our religion.

Sayfullakh says that he is not interested in what “this sheikh said to that sheikh” or what another sheikh said in response. He is only interested in the law of Allah.

He calls once again on the Muslims to rise up against the infidels in the Caucasus and Uzbekistan, “and in Iraq and in Afghanistan and in the whole world. We will ruin you, will will kill you.”

He swears that they will liberate the entire Muslim world from the infidels, and if they don’t live to see that day, then their descendants will do it.

Sayfullakh later allows one of his men to give an address in Arabic, for the benefit of Arabic speakers.