North Caucasus Fighters In Syria Ask “Is It So Hard To Blow Up Saunas In Cherkessia?”

Fighters from the Chechen-led jamaat Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar — formerly led by Umar al-Shishani — have made a video message, addressing the Karachay people of the North Caucasus Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia.

The video sheds light onto some of the complexities of the presence in Syria of foreign fighters from the North Caucasus. While some of these fighters have adopted an ideological stance more aligned to that of transnational jihad, some fighters have retained an ideological or emotional connection to local ethno-nationalist struggles in the North Caucasus, even while discussing elements of these conflicts in terms of a wider struggle by Muslims against “infidel” oppression.

The message comes after a faction from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar split from its former leader Umar al-Shishani in November, after Umar chose to swear an oath of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Some Jaish fighters refused to join Umar, on the grounds that they had already sworn allegiance to the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokku Umarov and therefore retained a loyalty as well as an emotional connection to the struggle in the North Caucasus, even though they are displaced from it.

Who Are The Karachays & Where Is Karachay-Cherkessia?

The Karachay people mostly inhabit the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic in the North Caucasus.

The region which borders the Russian areas of Stavropol and Krasnodar, was taken over by the Russian Empire in the 19th century.

The address by the fighters refers to a mass deportation carried out by Stalin in 1943, when the Karachay people were transported to Central Asia for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. The deportations were part of a wider ethnic cleansing of around one million people from the North Caucasians and Crimea, including the Chechen and Ingush people.

”Is It Really That Hard To Blow Up A Sauna In Karachay-Cherkessia?!”

The video was filmed in Aleppo this month.

Six fighters are shown in the video. The leader speaks in Russian, saying that he wants to give a short message to his people back home. The fighter then starts to speak the Karachay language. He says that the group wants to go home.

The fighters talk about the struggle back home in Karachay-Cherkessia, and call on people in the Republic to wage jihad against the Russians.

While the fighters do situate the struggle in Karachay-Cherkessia within the context of a wider struggle of Muslims, the address remains very focussed on events in Karachay-Cherkessia in particular, and the North Caucasus in general. The fighters are concerned primarily with returning home, and with calling on locals to fight — and not in Syria but in their homeland. The fighters talk about hitting back at the Russian security services, the FSB; they also call on the Karachay people to commit terrorist acts against saunas in the Republic.

The message comes amid heightened security — and heightened tensions — in the region, with Russian President signing a law earlier this month that allows for a punishment of five years in prison for separatist speeches or activities.

Another law designed to increase security ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics has defined a closed “security zone” in the North Caucasus bordered by Karachay-Cherkessia and Abkhazia, forbidden to anyone without official business.

I have translated the video address below:


Dear Brothers, today we are in Syria. Whatever and however it happened, we inshallah are trying to get home.

We call you, brothers, to go out to Jihad inshallah, because Allah calls for jihad in the Quran.

Today, brothers, such a time has come for our people that they are getting at, beating having a go at our brothers, they’re killing our sisters. Allahu Akbar! We must go out!

How can you watch all that brothers. Allahu Akbar! You must go out today for jihad for sure!

If we don’t go out for jihad now, then we’ll be severely punished by Allah. A hard time has come for our Ummah.

Another of the fighters speaks:


O our Jamaat! I’m not going to add much or little to what’s been said, just that they’re cutting us like prize sheep for their needs. It’s happening at home, and in Dagestan, and everywhere. And we can’t wait and pull on the hope that everything will pass, that it will be passed on to someone else. Why, that’s sinful and shameful before Allah and before people!

Start to excise the FSB from the very fat and the middle and then from all the rest. If they harm one person, excise two of them, if they harm two people, excise five of them.

What you can do alone, don’t do with two people. What you can do with two people, don’t involve three. As far as possible, try to have as few people as possible know what you are doing.

Don’t gather in large groups in one place. Information gets about in places where there are lots of people. Take care of yourself! But at the same time, don’t feel sorry for yourself!

Strive to do what you can, and do it in the name of Allah. You know yourself what you do. If everyone excised one, then there would be an end to it.

Arouse yourselves, strive in the will of Allah! If you don’t do it, then no one will do it and if we don’t do it then no one will do it.

If Allah allows it we will unite with you. Choose a place for yourself and strive to prepare a place for our arrival.

Now it is not the time to gather en masse in one place. Alone, in twos, in threes, you don’t need more than that.

May Allah support you! May Allah join you on your path!

A third fighter speaks:


We want to address our older generation. You are helping those red FSB-niks! Do you remember how you were all kicked out of your homes in two days?

You were thrown into wagons and taken to some foreign lands. Most of the people perished in the wagons! Children and old folk were kicked out like dogs!

So quit helping them and help your Muslim brothers and sisters! You should be ashamed! Allahu Akbar!

We’ll all die today or tomorrow, we will all stand before Allah and inshallah everyone who sold us before Allah in that hour will suffer for their crimes!

Don’t help the FSB-niks, those dogs! They are just like dogs in this life and the next and they’re gonna die like dogs!

And then you will understand, who served Allah.

Whoever you will be with in this life, that is who you will be with in the next life. Try to get closer to the Muslims so that in the next life you won’t be resurrected with the infidels.

Brothers, we are turning to you, we are doing everything possible for you here. We ask you, do something there!

In Cherkessia alone there are 70 saunas, for God’s sake! Torch them, blow them up! Can’t you even make one bomb, for God’s sake?

Blow them up, Allahu Akbar! Is it really that hard to blow up a sauna in Cherkessia? Their attention is all directed here. Work, Allah will make opportunities for you!

Right now, Allah the Almighty is giving such opportunities to the Ummah of Muslims. Come on, Brothers! And may Allah help you!

Syria: Umar Shishani To Syrian People – “We Didn’t Come To Fight You”

A new propaganda video from ISIS shows the military leader of the faction’s northern division, the ethnic Chechen Umar Shishani, giving an address regarding the recent fighting in Al Bab in Aleppo Province. The second part of the video shows a montage of operations in Al Bab.

Several important pieces of information can be gleaned (translation below):

1. According to Umar, who says that “today we captured Al Bab”, the footage of his speech was shot last week and released on Monday.

2. Umar, who has previously made video addresses in Russian, speaks in formal Modern Standard Arabic with a heavy Russian accent. Unlike his previous addresses, this video is not intended for North Caucasian, Russian-speaking viewers but an Arabic-speaking audience.

3. Umar appears to be genuinely shocked and surprised that other insurgents would attack ISIS headquarters, especially when he and his men were absent, fighting in Deir Ez Zor Province in eastern Syria.

4. Umar asks the Syrian people why they do not accept the Muhajireen (foreign fighters), even though hundreds from his faction have been killed in the recent battle and thousands of foreign fighters have died in total.

5. Umar describes the insurgents fighting ISIS as making a pact with the Taghout (the “idol worshippers”) who want to continue the Assad regime.

This video message follow another speech made last week by Umar, via his second-in-command Abu Jihad (translation below), in which he addressed the Syrian people and asked why they did not support the foreign fighters.

The leap to addressing an Arabic-speaking audience comes two months after Umar made an ideological jump, swearing an oath to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late November and taking many of his men with him from the faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar. Doing so, Umar cut his ideological umbilical cord to the North Caucasian jihad and the leader of Imarat Kavkaz, Dokku Umarov. (Notably, those of Umar’s men who had previously sworn allegiance to Umarov refused to follow him in swearing allegiance to Baghdadi.)

Umar’s previous messages have mostly focused on talking about the gains he and his men had made. Later video addresses made with Abu Jihad explained why he had sworn allegiance to al-Baghdadi, with one attempt to address wider jihadi ideology.

UMAR’S VIDEO MESSAGE

Today we captured the town of Al Bab and cleansed it from the criminals.

These traitors. They are traitors because they were sold for money. We came from Deir Ezzor, around 300 kilometres. Why did we run from Deir Ezzor? Because these traitors played foul to us and stormed our headquarters and captured our brothers. And they still have our brothers captive. We came back to protect ourselves. We will not leave a single one of our brothers and sisters, by Allah.

We came to liberate the region from the Nusayris (Alawites), and left our headquarters in the Northern Aleppo countryside in the Vilayat of Aleppo empty. And they attacked us like cowards. Like cowards, they attacked us. We canceled our operation because of these cowards.

We didn’t come to fight you and especially the Syrian people. We buried in this land around 500 foreign fighters from our brigade. And thousands of other foreign fighters have been killed. We will not leave until you repent and surrender your weapons to the headquarters of ISIS. We will even give sanctuary […]. We cannot prevent people from accepting Allah the Almightly, we cannot prevent repentance….

I ask Allah to secure our brothers… right now there are brothers trapped in many places, inshallah, we will not leave you until we come for you and aid you. And this speech is especially for the people of Syrian of this blessed land. Those traitors have sold you out and made a pact with the Taghout, with agents from the East and West, knowing full well that they want to establish a new regime with the Nusayris (Alawites), and taking advantage of the name of the Syrian people to establish their project. By Allah, we did not come to kill you, O brothers and sisters. We did not come here to drink the blood of this people. And We we want to stand up for this blood. These traitor cowards who made this whole fitna…

I ask Allah to unite all the Muslims and unify them to make this land under the rule of Sharia Law.


Umar’s first Arabic audio message, spoken via Abu Jihad Shishani:

(The image in the video shows Abu Jihad on the far right and Umar second from left.)

We loved you even before we met, because the hadith talk of Sham and its people.

When we heard about the great oppression in Syria, we held you higher than our families and our land.

When we came here, and looked for which group to join, the idea to form an independent group never crossed our minds .

We were joined several groups, in search of the correct ideology, but we could not choose that — they were all about freedom and democracy.

So we decided to stay an independent group until until we find the correct group (Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar).

We thought we found the correct group, but when we joined them, we found them arrogant.

We asked that from time to time we could send fighters back to the Caucasus to help there, but they said that we cannot dictate our terms.

So we left the group and remained independent until we found the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq.

The first thing we did was to study their history in Iraq, because we do not follow titles but the Truth.

When we studied their history, we found them sincere before the Lord. They have learned from their trials.

All have turned away from them, the “unfaithful”, the government, scholars, etc., but they survived.

Even when their own people turned against them (Sahwa), the Lord will protect them and gave them the victory.

Next, we met up with them and found them polite, sincere and simple.

As we requested them from time to time we send people to the Caucasus. We were surprised their reaction.

They were enthusiastic and said that for a long time looking for ways to help the Caucasus Emirate. But they could not find a way.

Baghdadi said, of course, since it is our duty.

Since then we have given our oath to ISIS, and day after day we’re convinced that this is the correct group.

The attack on us from all sides means we are in the right.

As for current events, we will talk about what happened.

We were in Deir Ezzor, planning more attacks on the Nusayris (Alawite) and one day before we heard:

Our home in Aleppo was attacked by traitors.

Our headquarters were mostly empty, except for a few guards, and in the houses were only women and children, as the men were at the front.

If they had been men, they would have warned us, but they are cowards.

To the Syrian people, but not the tyrants, we have questions.

Is this your gratitude? After our thousands of victims? The Caucasians alone had 500 of them.

Another question — how do you meet your Lord? When I (we) were in trouble you just stood and watched.

But when we heard that you were being killed, we came with our money and our blood.

When they heard that our children have been killed, they stood and watched, and when we heard the same, we came to save them.

[Important] Did you know that more than 50 immigrant sisters have been captured by these traitors? Some of them were raped, some killed.

We did not come here apart from to help people to establish Sharia. So why did they attack us?

And if they fight against us because of a mistake, then you know their crimes and mistakes outweigh those that we could make.

And sometimes they fight, but are quickly stopped. By whom? By their daddy sitting in Turkey.

We do not deny there have been mistakes or crimes by individuals but we sentenced them and some we even executed .

This is the daddy in Turkey, who feared ISIS’s expansion and the possibility of establishing the Caliphate and told them to fight against us.

Does it not speak volumes to you when the people fighting against us are criminals and bandits like Hayani, Afash and Jamal Ma’rouf.

And people in their ranks, people who claim innocence, but their goal is to destroy ISIS and bring back the Taghut (Assad).

The conspiracy is not against ISIS but against the whole of the Syrian people, they want to return you to the law of the Taghut for decades.

Do not give them a chance to return you to shame and humiliation.

With regard to this freedom, which you talk about, I will give you an example of their freedom .

A Muslim left their country and went to America to earn money and live an easy life.

He stayed there and his children grew up, and one day his daughter came with a man, her boyfriend.

The father was furious, so he hit her and threw her out of the house, she called the police, who arrested him.

She said that she would drop the charges if she had a house, and he agreed. After he was released, he returned, but she chucked him out.

Now he lives on the street, that’s their freedom.

Our message to the rest of the groups is this: now you have to choose. There cannot be two camps, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said.

There is the Camp of Faith and the Camp of Hypocrisy — so choose your side, because the world has begun to be divided into two camps.

And do you really think you’ll will be protected? The same thing will happen to you if you do not change your ideology.

We are not telling you to join us but to join the truth and be with it.

Our third message is to the sincere scholars, we need you to take a firm position in relation to what has happened and not be silent.

Our final message is to the criminal traitors and all who help them by giving fatwas and money.

You are not just traitors and criminals, but you also stupid. You do not learn lessons from the people who came before you. Those who tried to extinguish the light of Allah but they did not succeed in Russia, they attacked us for more than 20 years and they could not do it.

And you know how strong Russia is and what you are compared to Russia, but they could not beat us.

Or look at the brothers in Iraq, the Americans fought with them for a long time with the help of traitors.

But they lost and left Iraq, so what makes you think that you can win?

We will not tell you, “we do this” or “we will do it”. We just do it, without a word. You will see what we will do with you.

As for those who twisted fatwas from the scholar-minions, we urge you to seek the Lord (repent) and that you do so in public.

Whoever does this will be safe and we will not hurt him .

Once we cut the head of the snake, we can regroup and fight back against the Nusayrite Government.

Umar Shishani & ISIS Claim Advance From Al-Bab To Manbij, Capture Base

FiSyria, the website close to ISIS’s Chechen Emir Umar al-Shishani, has published new claims regarding ISIS’s movements in and around al-Bab in Aleppo, together with a claimed footage of a weapons cache captured from the Free Syrian Army.

The weapons captured include anti-tank rockets, according to the video.

The new details also indicate that Umar and ISIS had previously tried to purchase rockets and other weapons from the Islamic Front, but were refused.

We now also know that Umar and his men are in the vicinity of Manbij.

Text accompanying the video says it was shot on January 16. The man speaking in the video, who describes the various rockets captured in the base, is not Umar. It is possible that the speaker is Umar’s right-hand-man, Abu Jihad.

The speaker in the video emphasizes that the rockets were given to Umar and his men by Allah. One of the rockets is described as a “cannon”. There seems to be two Russian speakers, but at one point, the Arabic word for “rocket” is heard.

The post says that after capturing the al-Bab, Umar and his faction set out on the road to Manbij:

FiSyria writes:


The town was completely cleansed.

Two days later, we received information that former Free Syrian Army insurgents were holding ISIS prisoners in one of the bases near the city.

Intelligence reported that this was a former missile base, which previously belonged to Assad’s forces.

Umar and his men decided to attack the base, FiSyria writes:


The attack was carried out at night. The apostates (a term used to refer to non-ISIS fighters) were fortified in two buildings, from where there was gunfire before dawn.

By morning, there was heavy weaponry reinforcements. After several hours of fighting, they left the territory.

Five infidels were killed (the rest managed to escape), there was one martyr among the mujahideen).

FiSyria explains that, after all, the ISIS prisoners were not in the base.

As it turned out later, there were no prisoners here, but by the grace of Allah, we managed to take a large amount of ammunition and rockets.

Umar and his ISIS fighters took the ammunition from the base:

From morning till evening, we took out the trophies. There were so many that we did not have enough cars.

FiSyria offers a quote from Umar, which offers some insight into the previous relationship between ISIS and the Islamic Front:

Umar al-Shishani said: “When we wanted to buy their shells to fight the Assadis, they told us that they did not have any. But Allah Almighty gave them to us. Praise Him alone!”

UPDATE:

This ISIS propaganda video from Sunday claims to show an ISIS convoy heading out to Manbij:

The video was uploaded by Abu Yazn al-Halabi, an ISIS-affiliated activist.

Syria Direct report that the fighter sitting in the pickup truck says, “You cannot stand as long as ISIS stands.” “We will set fire to you,” says another.

It is notable that the fighters shown in this video are Arabic-speakers, and are not North Caucasians.

Interview With Salahuddin Shishani, Amir Of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar

Kavkaz Center, the mouthpiece of the Caucasus Emirate, has published a long interview with Salahuddin Shishani, the new Amir of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (“Army of Emigrants and Helpers”), now the Caucasus Emirate’s official affiliate in Syria. The interview was given to the Russian language jihadi site Sham News.

Salahuddin replaced Umar Shishani as leader of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA) in November, after Umar formally swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A faction of JMA, including Salahuddin, refused to pledge an oath to al-Baghdadi because they had already sworn allegiance to Dokku Umarov, the Amir of the Caucasus Emirate, considered a terror group by Russia.

Salahuddin was previously the leader of a faction within JMA.

I have translated the interview below. It helps shed some light onto the attitudes and perspectives of the Chechen leader of a predominantly North Caucasian faction that has remained relatively independent with respect to other jihadist groups in Syria.

Key points to note are:

  • Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar are remaining independent in the infighting.
  • JMA has helped some ISIS fighters injured in the conflict.
  • JMA has operated alongside Jabhat al-Nusra though it is not formally part of that group – another Chechen faction, led by Seyfullakh Shishani, has sworn formal allegiance to Jabhat al-Nusra leader al-Jolani.
  • JMA is responsible for securing certain parts of Aleppo on behalf of Jabhat al-Nusra.

QUESTION:
For more than 2 years, events in Syria have attracted considerable interest from both Muslims and infidels worldwide. The global media puts them on the front page, as Jihad in Sham causes all Western politicians fear and concern. Recent developments related to internal strife in the ranks of the anti-Assad forces has cheered the infidels and greatly saddened believing Muslims.

Statements by some leaders of military jamaats involved in the conflict are already known, and also by those who eschew fitnah and seek reconciliation of the warring parties. I would like Muslims to know the position of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar and its relation to this difficult situation. And, of course, many people are asking questions: “How did it start? And who is to blame?”

SALAHUDDIN:
The more you try to figure out “how did it start, who’s to blame?”, the more you get confused. And until all sides go to the same Sharia Court, it’s hard to figure out the truth. But we know that it doesn’t happen in such fitnas that one side is totally in the right, and the other totally in the wrong. And it doesn’t matter how it got started, that’s not important, what is important is that this fitna had been brewing for a long time.

Regarding our position, that’s clear. We won’t fight on either side. Because this bloodshed is very dubious and raises a lot of questions. And I am afraid that a victory or defeat in this war today can turn into a defeat in the Afterlife. We didn’t come to the Blessed Land of Sham to die at the hands of Muslims or to shed Muslim blood.

This conflict caught us at a moment when our main forces had been transferred to Hama, where we had planned an action. In response to these events, we had to revise our plans.

I must note, our brothers from Jabhat al-Nusra received us in a most hospitable and cordial manner. I mean with various representatives of Ahram ash-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, Jabhat al-Nusra and others with whom we discussed the developing situation.

QUESTION:
With whom exactly, may I ask?

SALAHUDDIN:
There was Abu Turki, Amir Haleb (Aleppo) from Liwa al-Tawhid, and also Sheikh Tawhik, the military Amir of Liwa al-Tawhid. And several times I met with Sheikh Abu Umeir, the amir of one of the brigades of Ahrar ash-Sham. That is a very well-respected Mujahid, a veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan, who personally knows many of the famous Islamic leaders. There were also representatives from various groups of the Free Syrian Army.

Q:
And did you voice our position regarding the conflict, and our view?

SALAHUDDIN:
Yes. We said that we had come to Sham with a clear aim and goal — to fight with those who are oppressing the Muslims — the Alawites, the Shias, the Assadites, and other infidels. And that we strongly avoid any fitna between the Mujahideen.

Not only avoid, but if it arises, we try to make peace between the warring sides and to support any steps that are taken towards making peace.

Any Mujahid from any side who asks us for asylum will get it, inshallah. And afterward he is free to return to his unit or to any other one that he chooses.

We are ready to help anyone wounded in these hostilities and to give them treatment, inshallah. Today our doctors treated 11 wounded Mujahideen from ISIS. Several were seriously wounded….

Those who got left out in the surrounding area, we will try to bring them back under our protection.

Together with the forces from Jabhat al-Nusra, we returned several tens of Mujahideen from ISIS from the outskirts around Hama, with a guarantee of safety. 30 remained with Jabhat al-Nusra. 10 of them wanted to come with us These are mostly Mujahideen from Europe.

Q:
Unfortunately, it is often the case that however much you don’t want to get involved, the situation draws you into the maelstrom…

SALAHUDDIN:
I don’t know. Every situation is a test from Allah. Several of our brothers recalled the words of Allah in the Quran: And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others – will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing.

Inshallah, we will not exceed that which we want or which seems to us to be. All important, related decisions we decide up ahead with Islamic scholars, and inshallah, we will continue to do so in the future.

But one thing we do not doubt. We will declare war and fight with anyone who takes even one woman into captivity, whether she comes from the Muhajireen or the Ansars. Whoever tries to kidnap women and children will severely regret it.

And those who try to oppress local Ansars and their families should not doubt that they will feel the full wrath of our Mujahideen. Inshallah, we shall not leave a single evil deed unpunished, whoever is responsible.

Q:
But there were ongoing rumors that three women from the Muhajireen were kidnapped after their men were killed?

SALAHUDDIN:
They were just rumors, and nothing came of them. And I suspect that the rumors were put out intentionally.

There’s another situation where we won’t leave things to chance. If our property is stolen then we will demand it back, and if it is not returned, we will fight with them. And we have a basis for that.

(Salahuddin quotes from the Quran)

Incidentally, like I already said, one of our most important tasks today is the strengthening of the front at strategic important directions near Aleppo, in those areas where our brigade is responsible.

Q:
There is another typical question that journalists ask. What’s your prediction?

SALAHUDDIN:
I don’t have any prediction to give. But today or tomorrow there should be a general majlis (“parliament”) session for all those involved in the conflict. All the leaders of the groups, as far as I know, have given their agreement for this.

Inshallah, we will make du’a and hope that Allah gives us sense and helps us make the right solution and the guide us on the right path.

Umar Shishani & Abu Jihad Talk Of ISIS Battles In Al Bab, Aleppo

FiSyria, the website close to Chechen ISIS Emir Umar al-Shishani, offers a new report on the fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham and other insurgent factions, particularly the Islamic Front, in the Aleppo town of al-Bab over the past days.

A video message posted on FiSyria shows Umar driving a car, while his second-in-command, Abu Jihad al-Shishani speaks to camera about the circumstances of the fighting. The video then shows Umar and other men freeing a group of around seven or eight civilians, from what FiSyria claims was an Ahrar ash-Sham prison.

Map showing the location of Al Bab:

The account provides some valuable context and information about the fighting in Al Bab, and the role of the Chechen military leaders of ISIS, albeit from the perspective of Umar and his faction.

In the first place, we learn that the insurgent factions fighting ISIS waited until Umar and his men had left Aleppo — we know from other sources that Umar traveled to Deir Ezzor to participate in a battle there — before they attacked, taking several ISIS checkpoints and capturing ISIS fighters.

On hearing of the events in Aleppo, Umar gathered a group of men and returned. En route, Umar and his fighters participated in several battles, including one to take a sugar factory and another to capture a dairy farm previously held by Ahrar ash-Sham. Umar and his fighters then battled in Al Bab itself, taking heavy casualties and with many ISIS fighters being taken prisoner.

We learn that ISIS took heavy losses and that a large number of ISIS fighters have been taken prisoner during the fighting.

We also learn that some of Umar’s men carried out suicide attacks including the two pictured on the left and right of this photograph. The man on the right is named as Abu Khajar from Saudi Arabia.

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FiSyria writes:

As it became clear earlier, the factions Liwa al-Tawhid, Liwa Islamiya, Ahrar ash-Sham and another five small groups united under the name Jabhat al-Islamiya (Islamic Front) against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham.

Taking advantage of the moment when the mujahideen had left Aleppo on an operation, they secretly, without forewarning, started to capture ISIS checkpoints, to kill mujahideen and to take women prisoner.

The first thing that they did was to capture six posts along the road to Aleppo. Having learned about the treachery of these traitors, Umar al-Shishani gathered together a column and headed back, in order to decisively deal with those had all the time convinced us, “We are with you, we love you!”.

Along the road, several checkpoints, a sugar factory, a dairy farm (around 3,000 heads of cattle) were liberated, which had previously been controlled by Ahrar ash-Sham.

(FiSyria has posted photographs of the cattle in the dairy farm.)

The attack on the sugar factory took place at night. Two groups of 15 men attacked from both sides. One of the groups got lost and wound up in a river, which they had to cross, in order to reach their goal. Everyone started to take off their undergarments. The water was sufficiently cold, so that some people couldn’t go into it. After the last mujahid had taken off his things, the leader shouted, “Come here! There’s another road.” Everyone understood that this was a test from the Almighty Allah.

The traitors abandoned their positions, where according to approximate data there were about 40 men. After, several of them were taken prisoner. One talked to us that when he was asked, why did you run away? Then he said with surprise, “What should we have done, when there were 1,000 men chasing us?”

On the next day, the column of mujahideen reached the town of Al Bab. Before reaching the appointed spot, there was a shoot out with Liwa al-Tawhid, they left their cars and ran across the field in fear.

The shoot out lasted five days. Every day, the mujahideen took new points. Over 100 apostates were killed in ten days, more than 150 were taken prisoner. Ten guys became martyrs.

Two bases of Liwa al-Tawhid, one base of Liwa al-Islam were located on the same territory. There was a prison there, where they locked up the prisoners. According to them, they wound up there, when they couldn’t pay the checkpoint to cross.

Many criminals fled the town. Some of them mingled with the local population. After long searches in the houses, weapons, rockets and assault vests. The fighting continued. We, with the help of the Almighty, will inform you, our dear brothers and sisters. Do not forget us in your du’ a.

Video:

Abu Jihad is speaking to camera. Umar Shishani is sitting in the driver’s seat.

The video was shot on January 13.

Abu Jihad said that Allah has brought them to this land to spread his word.

“But there are several forces here, so to speak, who do not want the Sharia of Allah. They try to hold us by the throat so we cannot spread the law of Allah.”

Abu Jihad says that now, the time has come for a victory over these people. He points out of the car at a column of vehicles that he says is heading to fight.

He says that around 50 of their men were killed in the fighting, and around 100 were taken prisoner, but that they plan to liberate their comrades.

Abu Jihad adds that those who wish to have the religion of Allah in force in Syria should come from their lands to help.

The cameraman then turns to the opposite side of the road from where Umar and Jihad have parked up. We can see a line of cars, some of which are carrying armed men and heavy weaponry.

We then see what Abu Jihad alleges are the prisoners being freed by ISIS. The alleged prisoners include a young boy as well as some older men. At 5:58, one of the older men hugs Umar. There seem to be around 7 or 8 alleged prisoners in total.

Umar Shishani’s Media Wing: “Today They Want to Get Rid of ISIS, Tomorrow Other Mujahideen”

FiSyria, the website close to ISIS commander in northern Syria Umar Shishani has broken days of silence with a lengthy post on the week-long fight between ISIS and other insurgent groups.

Earlier this week, I reported on the truce signed between Umar on behalf of ISIS and Ahrar ash-Sham in Maskaneh, Aleppo province.

Following that truce, rumors abounded mostly on Arabic-language Facebook pages that Umar had ordered his men to carry out a car bomb attack on insurgents at al-Bab in Aleppo. However, those rumors remain unverified.

Meanwhile, the statement on FiSyria says that the truce Umar signed was “temporary”.

I have translated the statement below. It is not possible to verify the accuracy of any of the claims it makes; however, it may help shed light on events, or at least on the opinions and attitudes of some of those connected with the Chechen fighters of ISIS during the initial days of the fighting.


What is going on today in Syria was expected, as Muslims will never find a compromise with a group of smoking, pro-democracy extortionists.

Especially if they carry out the program of the Western and Assad regimes.

On January 3, 2014, there was a skirmish at one of the checkpoints near Aleppo between the Mujahideen of ISIS and one of the groups of the Free Syrian Army.

The reason was that the FSA fighters would not let a car belonging to ISIS through, for unknown reasons, so the brothers had to eventually break through with fire. In this first conflict, 12 brothers became martyrs, Insha’Allah.

In a short time, the conflict escalated into an internal battle. Some of the houses belonging to ISIS Mujahideen were surrounded. The next day on the streets of the cities, they began to kill and capture all those involved in the Muhajir (foreign fighters). It was mostly the wives and children who were captured. On that one day, there were about 30 martyrs.

The local population disappeared, as if directed, the streets were deserted, you only heard gunfire and explosions. The situation was complicated by the fact that virtually all forces had been sent to the front, so the bases of the Mujahideen were empty, none of the ISIS Emirs were around. According to intercepted conversations, it became clear that they were planning to push heavy weapons against us and take complete control of the city until the Muslims cooperated and pulled out their troops.

There was a very tense situation, which threatened to explode into a full-scale operation. Only after the Mujahideen began to exert active resistance in all directions, did one of their military commanders make contact. In the conversation ISIS proposed a cease-fire in all directions, and to resolve the conflict according to Sharia. In response, they refused and put an ultimatum:

1. Hand over weapons.
2. Remove all checkpoints in the vicinity of the city of Aleppo and leave
3. ISIS leaves Syria.
4. Foreign fighters who want to stay should withdraw from ISIS, and are entitled to join another Jamaat.

If their demands were not met, they promised to leave the border areas so that Assad’s troops would advance on us in front, and they would shoot us in the back. Apart from that, they would kill all prisoners and make our women their concubines.

No one agreed to their demands. The conversation went on until the morning, until the arrival of one of the ISIS Emirs.

After that everything went quiet.


FiSyria have taken the next part of their text from another pro-jihad site, Sodiqlar:

After a short time it was found that against gangs which previously had conflicts with ISIS had united against it. One of these gangs was that of Khalid Khayani.

In the course of exploration and intercepted conversations, it became clear that we were not dealing with Muslims, but with real enemies of Allah.


FiSyria resumes:

They began to unite to achieve the goal set before them by their masters — not only to expel ISIS, but the rest of the Mujahideen as well. In their words: “We will cut all those involved in the Muhajir (foreign fighters).” They killed the brothers of both the small Jamaats and from Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS. History shows that it has always been thus: the hypocrites united against Islam. And in all countries, they are against those who are trying to establish the Sharia of Allah, such as in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Caucasus.

It’s enough to look at their so-called “military shura” in Turkey, where local groups are just performers.

And the ultimate goal of these servants of infidelity and the Devil is to get rid of all the Muhajir (foreign fighters) and those who confess pure Islam, as it is precisely those whom the West considers an obstacle to the realization of the democratic scenario in Syria.

And it plays into their hands that our ranks are heterogeneous, that we have different Jamaats and different visions of how to win.

It is like the parable of the four buffalo: one of them was white and the other three were black. Their method of self-defense was that they always stuck together.

But once three black buffalo gathered at a meeting. They said: “The three of us will be together, and let the white buffalo go, as because he has too many problems.” The white buffalo was attacked by a wolf, and while he was devoured, the three black buffalo did not do anything. They stood and watched as their fellow buffalo got torn apart!

The following night, the wolf attacked the three black buffalo, and why? Because they were one fewer. And then on the last night, only one buffalo was left, and he tried desperately to get away from the wolf, but he did not have the support and assistance.

And the wolf pursued the buffalo with confidence, he knew that the buffalo would get tired and fall, that he had no choice. There was no one to come to his aid, and the wolf is satisfied and confident and circled around and finally he attacked this buffalo and grabbed him by the throat. When the wolf did that, and buffalo had just seconds left to live, he said some very important words, words that contain a great lesson from which we can benefit.

This black buffalo said, as he was dying, “I was eaten on the very day that the white buffalo was eaten! I signed his own death warrant on that very day when I allowed you to eat the white buffalo, that’s when I died. I did not die now, I did not die today, I died when I let the wolf eat the white buffalo!”

In other words, today they wanted to get rid of ISIS, and tomorrow it will be the rest of the Mujahideen. Praise be to God, our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra and other Jamaats are not left behind and are actively supporting us.


After 19.00 rumors were heard about ISIS fighters having prepared a car with explosives. And their military Emir began to say, it this what you do with Muslims? And he called us dogs. They began to pour insults on us, and called us unbelievers.

And now they have declared us kyafer (the text uses a Tartar word meaning “godless”), and our lives, women and property have been made ​​permissible for themselves.

After this conversation, the temporary truce came to an end.

In the city the battle began. Everywhere there was the noise of lines. And then the Dushkas rattled, the mortars, explosions. No one fully understood what was happening. The radio was smashed, the brothers took up positions and prepared to repel an attack. Nobody wanted bloodshed among Muslims.

Praise be to Allah! The brothers were not strengthened. Despite their small number, they attacked their base.

“Yalla, Yalla, Yalla, akhwa, Bismillah!” (Forward, forward, brothers!) The assault began.

It took 15 minutes and then a Russian voice came over the radio: “They ran, they raaaaan, brothers! Allahu akbar! They threw everything! The infidels fled from us! The kyafery ran!”

We give praise to Allah who gives victory to whom He wills. Now the fighting continues and they are pulling away from all their positions.

• On the 5th, we received reinforcements.
• Night and day, several towns in the vicinity of Aleppo were cleansed.
• The brothers took their headquarters in Aleppo.
• Many roads were freed.
• On the 6th, the brothers jointly conducted a large-scale operation. “Another base is taken! Kyafers have fled! “Brothers take them to the surrounding area. Now they are not allowed to escape, InshaAllah! All praise be to Allah, there is no God except Allah alone, he belongs dominion, praise him and he can do anything. Allahu akbar!”

And the complexities of the power of the faith of the Muslims is being verified. And when trials come, the hypocrites do not stand and show their hypocrisy, as happened with the hypocrites in the time of the Prophet, during the Battle of the Trench.

The internal enemy is very cunning and dangerous, and can strike from places you do not expect. And these internal enemies are hypocrites, in relation to which Allah has commanded us to treat them severely.

Today the whole world stands against the Mujahideen, because they call for the truth. And it seems like the situation with the Sahaabah during the Battle of the Trench, when the tribes gathered against them. And they said a word, to distinguish them from the hypocrites.

Truce Between ISIS’s Umar Shishani & Ahrar ash-Sham On Eastern Front in Aleppo Province

A video circulating on internet forums shows a handwritten document declaring a truce between the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham and Ahrar ash-Sham on the eastern front in Aleppo Province.

The document was signed by Chechen jihadi leader Abu Umar al-Shishani on behalf of ISIS and Abu Khalid as-Suri on behalf of Ahrar ash-Sham.

The move, which appears to be genuine, comes after rumors that Umar had prepared a fighting force of up to 800 ISIS mujahideen, and sent them in a convoy to Aleppo.

The circumstances of the truce including who initiated it, and whether Umar decided to agree to it himself or whether he was instructed to do so by a higher command within ISIS remain unknown.

According to Russian sources, the document reads:

Praise be to Allah, blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammad — the Messenger of Allah.
This is an agreement between brother Umar Shishani being representative of ISIS and brother Abu Khalid al-Suri representative of the Islamic movement Ahrar al-Sham:

1 – An agreement has been reached such that will there will not be a single shot from the airfield at Jarrah at ISIS’s columns. This agreement covers only the road to the end of the airfield, which is located on a public street.

2. Brother Umar Shishani, the representative of ISIS, promises never to attack the Jarrah airfield.

3. Brother Umar Shishani promises to use the Al Abkar road and avoid using the public road at the airfield.

4. Roadblocks on the two sides at the crossroads of Al Abkar road should be removed, and the Ahrar al-Sham checkpoint should be moved to a place right in front of the intersection of the airfield road.

5. Prisoners from both sides should be released from Al Maskaneh, Al-Sukkar and Al Abkar and all checkpoints must be returned.

The person responsible for the implementation of this agreement from the Ahrar al-Sham is Abu Bakr Al-Shami, and from ISIS is Surak Al-Tabuki.

Prisoners on both sides should be released immediately!
This agreement was signed by both sides.

Click here to see a map showing the location of Maskaneh in eastern Aleppo province.

This map shows the approximate location of the Jarrah airbase near Maskaneh:

airbase
Image of the airbase (Credit: http://arab-worlds.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/blog-post_639.html)

حلب-مسكنة-مطار-جب-الجراح

Where In The World Is Abu Umar Shishani?

The recent fighting between ISIS and various insurgent groups including the Free Syria Army, the Islamic Front and other local brigades raises questions about the organization and effectiveness of ISIS. Continue reading Where In The World Is Abu Umar Shishani?

Chechen Fighter In Aleppo – “North Caucasus Women Shouldn’t Come Here To Marry Jihadis”

Abdul-Khalim Shishani, a prominent Chechen jihadi in Aleppo and an associate of Seyfullakh Shishani, whose jamaat Khilafatul Islamia recently joined Jabhat al-Nusra, has issued a statement calling on women from the North Caucasus to stop traveling to Syria alone to make Hijra (emigration) and wage jihad.

The address, in part, is a dig at Seyfullakh’s rival, Umar Shishani, the powerful leader of the northern branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham. Umar has been criticized for allowing a young Chechen woman to marry a Chechen ISIS fighter without her father’s permission, and for refusing to allow her to leave when her brother traveled to Syria to insist she came home.

The address by Abdul Khalim also sheds some light onto how this particular group of Chechen jihadis in Syria view their own position there, and that of Syria and the Syrians themselves, in relation to concepts of transnational jihad.

SCANDAL IN CHECHNYA OVER DAUGHTER OF CIVIL SERVANT WHO RAN AWAY TO SYRIA AND MARRIED AN ISIS FIGHTER

The announcement comes in the wake of a scandal involving the 20-year-old daughter of the former director of Chechnya’s Federal Migration Service, Asu Dudurkaev. The young woman, Seda Dudurkaeva, had run away to Syria to be with a young man who had also traveled to Syria to wage jihad. According to reports from Russian-speaking sources, the young woman was living with a group from the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in Aleppo and had married the young man.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov publicly fired the woman’s father when the scandal became known.

Dudurkaeva was reported to be living in Syria with a group of Chechen jihadis. In mid-December 2013, a video circulated on the internet that apparently contained an address to Umar al-Shishani the former leader of the predominantly Chechen faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar and the current leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s northern operations, regarding Dudukaeva.

The address to Umar, from Sheikh Mohammed As-Suhaibani in Medina, explains that during the young woman’s marriage ceremony, she was asked whether she had a father. “Yes,” the girl replied, “But he is a Sufist and works in a department for giving foreign passports in Chechnya for the Russian regime.”

When the young woman’s brother came to Syria to bring her home, Umar refused. Unfortunately, the young woman’s husband was soon killed while waging jihad, and Dudurkaeva is now living with his mother in Syria.

When the young woman’s parents traveled to Syria to try to bring her home, Umar again refused, saying that she had made Hijra in the path of Allah, and had sworn an oath of allegiance to him. Dudurkaeva also refused to leave.

“WOMEN: DON’T GO TO SYRIA”

Adbul-Khalim Shishani, explains why, in his view, women ought not to travel to Syria:

First of all I would like to point out that Syria is not yet a place to which we could encourage Muslims, and especially Muslim women, to make Hijra or oblige them to do so. It’s still early to apply hadith about Hijra to the land of Sham, while a quarter of the land is not yet liberated.

To date, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, as well as the other countries of jihad are Dar ul-Harb, on whose territory battles are occurring or will occur, and even if we liberated a part of one of these countries and took control of it, we cannot immediately open the doors to Hijra, as we can not guarantee the full security even of the Muslims who already live here…

Most of the conquered territories in Sham here are the border areas with infidels, where you expect enemy attacks at any moment and where you have to be with guards (Ribat).

Umar bin Khattab (may Allah be satisfied with him) forbade settling in the border areas with families, let alone making Hijra there, and all because of the danger that exists there, and so that the Mujahideen are not distracted by family when on watch.

….

Today when you try to explain to Muslims that Syria is still no place for Hijra, you find that some are offended and even accuse you of wanting to ban hijra which Allah ordered Muslims to do.

….

Syria today is a war zone, the success of which is changeable and unpredictable although we rely on Allah and ask Him for victory. This question requires that in addition to Sharia we also look at things from a military-strategic perspective, as actuality, considering Shariah before making a particular ruling.

Having a large number of women and children for whom you must provide materially as well as in terms of security poses many challenges to the Mujahideen….

We do not know what will happen tomorrow, the Mujahideen are doing what they can today, but they cannot do this without losses, the enemy is also trying to periodically counter attack. The more forward-thinking of the Emirs of the Mujahideen are expecting Western intervention soon (guess for yourself on which side that will happen), and there are also pro-Western forces on the territories controlled by the Mujahideen who are just waiting for a chance to seize power and outdo the so-called Islamists.

Abdul Khalim goes on to explain that women are not obliged to wage jihad, and must only fight if invaders attack their land.

Similarly, when with Allah’s help we liberate Syria, and proclaim an Islamic State here and declare on it the overriding laws of Allah on it and protect its inhabitants, inshallah, then that ruler around whom Muslims unite will then announce the Hijra for everyone, but for now, Syria remains a battle zone and the first step is for the liberation of all Sham.

“MARRY A GUY FROM THE NORTH CAUCASUS, NOT ONE WAGING JIHAD IN SYRIA”

He adds, with a hint to the case of Seda Dudurkaeva:

I would like to remind our sisters — do not make hasty steps based on a bunch of propaganda videos or based on the words of one of the Mujahideen whom she decided to marry here.

The reality is always different from the beautiful picture painted by interested persons. And as for those cases where the sister is really prejudiced in religion and can not freely observe the rules of Islam, due to the fact that her family is not part of Islam or for some other reasons, rather than to decide to go off somewhere she should stay in her own country and marry someone there who follows the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and who has the intention to wage Jihad and make hijra – praise be to Allah, there are enough such guys in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Seyfullakh Shishani Urges Turks, “Don’t Stay Silent Against Muslim Bloodshed”

Chechen Emir Seyfullakh Shishani, whose faction has recently joined Jabhat al-Nusra, has given an interview in Turkish.

Until August, Seyfullakh was the second-in-command of prominent Chechen insurgent leader Abu Umar al-Shishani, leading mostly Chechen and North Caucasian fighters in Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA). Umar expelled Seyfullakh from JMA in August, accusing him of takfir, but the dispute between the two men appears to be a power struggle and an ideological dispute. Seyfullakh formed his own jamaat, Khilafatul Islamia, which recently pledged allegiance to Jabhat al-Nusra and fought with that faction to take the government-held Kindi Hospital in Aleppo.

Seyfullakh’s Turkish and the fact that his website, usudusham, regularly features articles in Turkish, points to the fact the he is a member of the Chechen Diaspora in Turkey. Around 1,500 Chechens who fled the First and Second Chechen Wars stayed in Turkey, where they have not been granted official refugee status.

Ali Kemal Yenidunya has translated some of the key points of Seyfullakh’s long interview. The questions, in Turkish, were put to Seyfullakh via the internet.

Seyfullakh is asked how long he has been in Syria and what the situation there is like.

Seyfullakh says he has been in Turkey for more than a year, and that there used to be fewer religious groups in that region, but that “the situation for Muslims is getting better.”

The answer is a common one given by foreign jihadis in Syria — that the Syrian people were secular or ignorant of Islam, but are becoming more religious (and therefore welcome the foreign fighters who spread a certain version of Islam).

Seyfullakh says that there many ethnic groups fighting in Syria including Turks, Azeris, Chechens. He says we see them as ‘brothers.’

– How are relations with other groups, especially with the Ansar?
There many groups. We have waged war together. We support Sharia and we are here for jihad.

– How do Syrians approach jihadists?
I got married in Syria and had a child there. They are as happy as Chechens for me. They have been under oppression for years. Innocent people should be invited to Islam. I love Syrian people.

– It is winter now. What is needed most?
We are calling on our Turkish brothers not to keep silent against Muslim blood.