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.

Seyfullakh Shishani & Jaish Khilafatul Islamia Join Jabhat al-Nusra

The leader of the Chechen jamaat Jaish Khilafa al-Islamia (JKI), Seyfullakh Shishani, has pledged full allegiance to the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani. Seyfullakh is now fighting for Jabhat al-Nusra, as are the fighters of JKI.

The site Usudusham, which is close to Seyfullakh, published this video footage on Sunday showing Seyfullakh (on the right) explaining the move. The man on the left is “one of the Amirs of Jabhat al-Nusra”, according to Usudusham.

Seyfullakh says that Allah has seen fit to unite the ranks of the Mujahideen, and strengthen their love for each other:

“Our jamaat, Jaish Khalifatul Islamia, in short, are now Jabhat al-Nusra. After this, alhamdulillah, we will be a single force, a single organ. We will work with Jabhat al-Nusra. We will work together, inshallah, to establish the laws of Allah. Takbir!”

Seyfullakh was previously the second-in-command of Chechen jihadi Umar al-Shishani, when the two led the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar jamaat (JMA), based in Aleppo and operating in northern Syria. However, Seyfullakh split from JMA following JMA’s involvement in the fight for Menagh Airbase in Aleppo, when Umar accused him of takfir and corruption.

It appears, however, that the split was largely an ideological one. During the fight for Menagh Airbase, Umar worked closely with the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), and was later appointed as Amir of that group’s northern operations. Seyfullakh believed that JMA should remain independent and not work closely with other groups.

Following the split, Seyfullakh formed his own jamaat, JKI, alongside another charismatic Chechen fighter with extensive battle experience, Abu Muslim Shishani. (It was Muslim’s men and not JMA, as media reports have erroneously said who fought in Latakia province and captured Alawite villages.)

Seyfullakh’s oath to al-Golani and his decision to join Jabhat al-Nusra comes after his rival Umar pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Salahuddin Shishani, New Leader of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar: “No Enmity With ISIS”

The new leader of the predominantly Chechen Jaish al-Muhajideen wal Ansar (JMA) (Army of Emigrants and Helpers), Salahuddin al-Shishani, has made a video address explaining why some of the faction refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham.

The former leader of JMA, Umar Shishani, swore an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi earlier this month, together with a group fighters from JMA, moving their allegiance to ISIS. Following the oath-swearing, there was a great deal of controversy over whether Umar had abandoned his jamaat, prompting Umar to make video addresses denying that and stating that most of JMA had followed him over to ISIS. Those videos were published on FiSyria, a website close to Umar.

In this video, Salahuddin Shishani does not give the main reason put forth as to why some of JMA refused to swear to Baghdadi: that the North Caucasus fighters had sworn a prior oath to the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokku Umarov. Instead, he emphasizes that JMA fighters were not forced to swear to Baghdadi and that there is no enmity between the groups as a result of the split. Salahuddin also says that those who did not swear to Baghdadi would have to swear a full Bay’at at such time as there was a single Amir ruling the whole of Sham — an implication that, of course, at the current time Baghdadi is not in control of the whole of Syria. However, Salahuddin emphasizes that his group will still fight together with ISIS when needed, even though his fighters are not officially part of ISIS.

The oath to Baghdadi has exposed existing divisions within the community of fighters from the North Caucasus, however. A faction led by Seyfullakh al-Shishani, Umar’s former second-in-command in JMA who Umar expelled last summer on charges of takfir, has fought alongside and likely joined, at least informally, Jabhat al-Nusra in the recent operation to take the Kindi Hospital in Aleppo City.

Salahuddin Shishani’s video was published on the Beladusham site, which is close to Salahuddin. We have translated key points below.


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah, dear brothers.

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar — this was a jamaat and it still exists, alhamdulillah.

On my right is the first naib (a term used for a local leader in the eastern Caucasus and especially Dagestan), Abdul Karim, and to my left is the second naib, Mutasim.

Enshallah, the jihad in Syria is spreading thanks to the will of Allah. Mujahideen from various countries, lands and tribes are gathering in the land of Sham (Syria). And nobody can get in the way of this process, because it is Allah’s will.

In the first place, it’s always so that there are various independent battalions and jamaats but nevertheless we carry out operations together and successfully. There are different battalions and jamaats — some are large and some are small. We always unite with each other, make decisions together and fight together against the infidels.

And that is the first reason why we are prepared to unite. It is the will of Allah.

The leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham offered our group Jaish al-Mujahireen wal Ansar to make a full, lifelong Bay’at (oath of allegiance) to them. And part of our mujahideen pledged an oath to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And the rest of the mujahideen refused to make a full, lifelong oath to ISIS, and that decision was made after long, bilateral consideration and consultation with Islamic scholars of Jihad.

Alhamdulillah, every Mujahid has the right to choose. But we have not become enemies because of that. Alhamdulillah, we are brothers, we will all the same unite with them, when they need us, and then we will fight together against the enemy.

We will not be able to refuse to make a full Bay’at when there is a single Amir ruling over the whole of Sham, and then we will swear to him a full Bay’at, enshallah.

Syria: Seyfullakh al-Shishani On Capture Of Kindi Barracks & Truck Bombings

UPDATE, Dec 24: Seyfullakh al-Shishani’s faction, Jaish al-Khilafatu Islamiya, has announced that it has joined Jabhat al-Nusra:


Emir Seyfullakh al-Shishani (Ruslan Machaliashvili), the leader of the predominantly North Caucasian faction Jaish al-Khilafatu Islamiya, has made a video address following the insurgent capture of the Kindi barracks in Aleppo City.

The Kindi barracks, formerly a hospital, had been taken over and used as a barracks by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Insurgents from a variety of factions including the Islamic Front cooperated to capture Kindi. The operation included two suicide truck bombings. (According to UmmaNews, a Russian-language pro-jihad website, one of the suicide attackers was named Abu Marwan and was from Iraqi Kurdistan. The second suicide bomber was from Iranian Kurdistan, the western part of Iran bordering Iraq and Turkey.)

(WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF BADLY BURNED CORPSES AT 3:02)

In the video, published on the Usudusham YouTube channel — Seyfullakh’s official channel — Seyfullakh is shown sporting a fur hat as he tours the area outside the devastated Kindi barracks.

Seyfullakh shows the destruction of the former hospital and says that there are no infidels remaining there.

Alhamdulillah (Praise God), there was a martyrdom operation and we took this place.

This is the will of Allah, in short. In short, a lot of infidels were killed here.

(Seyfullakh points out the place where the suicide operation took place. He then continues to walk around, pointing at the building and explaining that there are no more infidels left.)

Muslims are working here. Muslims, al-hamdulillah, are waging jihad here. Here, in short, there are no more infidels.

(Seyfullakh now gives a message to the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.)

So when Kadyrov says he’s gonna send people here, I say this, send ’em — we’re waiting here.

….

Who should we fear but Allah? We’ll kill you all….We’re establishing Islam here, we’re establishing the religion of Allah.

(The video now shows badly burned corpses, including one with a severed head.)

They’re infidels!

(The camera zooms in on the severed head. There’s a child’s or woman’s voice in the background, as unseen people mock the corpse in Russian.)

(Child or woman:) Just like a dog!

(The video now shows us Seyfullakh, who mocks Kadyrov in Chechen or Azeri. He seems to be mocking Kadyrov’s threats to send Russian special forces after Chechen fighters in Syria.)

(The next part of the video shows a group of fighters holding a black jihadist flag with a green emblem. Seyfullakh is present in the center right. An Arabic speaker lists the groups involved in the captured of Kindi including the Islamic Front, Jabhat al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham al-Islami. It is not clear with which faction Seyfullakh and his men fought.)

Umar Shishani “Likes To Spend Time In Jacuzzi In His Aleppo Villa”

UPDATE: Several sites, including Russia’s Segodnya.ru, published claimed images of the interior of Umar’s alleged villa and the swimming pool, taken from the photographs circulated in August after news of its capture.
….

Lebanese newspaper as-Safir claims to have some more details about Abu Umar al-Shishani, the former Emir of the largely North Caucasian faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar who recently swore an oath of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It is not, of course, possible to verify whether as-Safir’s “jihadi source” is telling the truth about Abu Umar, but the story does indicate a growing interest in and allure of the Chechen insurgent whose power and influence are on the ascendency in Syria.

As-Safir’s “jihadi source” says that Abu Umar moved to Syria with his family, to wage jihad. The family settled in the town of Hraytan, north of Aleppo city.

The source repeats some details from a November 13 BBC Arabic report about al-Shishani — namely that he served in the Georgian Army for some time and was discharged in 2007 due to tuberculosis. The report also repeats that in 2010, Abu Umar was sentenced to three years in a Georgian prison for buying and storing weapons, but was released early because his health deteriorated.

As-Safir’s source says that it was during Abu Umar’s time in prison that he became religious and learned about the principles of Islam. The source speculated that perhaps a jihadi network helped secure his early release.

Following his release, the source said that Abu Umar went to live in Turkey where his jihadi contacts secured him temporary housing. From there, Abu Umar went to Syria where he settled in Hraytan and worked on forming his own battalion, the Kataib al-Muhajireen, which operated for some time under the banner of the Jaish al-Mohammad, before forming Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar. That group came to prominence during its role in the capture of Menagh Airbase (an operation in which jihadist foreign fighters cooperated with the Free Syrian Army, or at least worked in concert with them).

The source adds some more details about Abu Umar’s rise to power. According to the source, Abu Umar rapidly gained a good reputation and became a prominent figure in Hraytan, and was able to gather around him other fighters.

Abu Umar began to thrive and chose to live in a luxury villa with a swimming pool in Hraytan, the source told as-Safir. The villa had belonged to a wealthy businessman in the village and was luxuriously furnished. Abu Umar brought his wife and his young son to live in the “new palace”, the source said.

Shortly afterward, Abu Umar and his group of fighters seized a warehouse in the al-Shokaief industrial zone in Aleppo:

The warehouses contained various electrical appliances, the source said, which Abu Umar transferred to his villa. These included a large refrigerator and an air conditioning system.

The story, as told by as-Safir, gets even more interesting. As-Safir’s source says that the owner of the villa — coincidentally also called Umar or Omar — once visited his property but was prevented from entering by armed mujahideen, who stopped him from transferring some merchandise that had been stored in the cellar.

When the owner of the property spoke to Abu Umar about the goods, the source says that Abu Umar responded by denying that the goods existed, and adding that the owner should consider the villa as a gift of charity according to the laws of Allah and jihad.

The source also added a charming detail about Abu Umar’s life in the villa. The Emir of ISIS’s northern branch enjoys spending considerable time in the jacuzzi, the source said, where he likes to spend hours pondering his life in the villa. The source speculated that perhaps Abu Umar enjoys thinking about the contrast between his life now and what it had been previously.

MORE ABOUT THE VILLA IN ALEPPO PROVINCE

The claims of the villa seized by Abu Umar and his men accord to some degree with reports that insurgents from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar occupied an empty villa in August, following the capture of the Menagh Airbase.

The pro-jihadi site Fi Syria, which is based in the North Caucasus and which is close to Abu Umar and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, published this video on August 17 showing insurgents from the North Caucasus in the swimming pool of a villa they had occupied. The site, however, claimed that the villa belonged to a relative of Bashar al-Assad.

In October, Russian-language pro-jihad sites published another video< showing a Russian-speaking jihadis, from Kazakhstan, lodged in a villa. While the location was not given, the residence looked at least similar to that shown in the above video from August. The October video has since been removed from YouTube.

Umar Shishani On Need For Unity, & Division of Spoils According to Rules of Jihad

Umar Shishani, the Chechen military commander of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s northern region, has issued another video message. This is the second part of a three-part series filmed in conjunction with FiSyria, the Russian-language, pro-jihad website close to Umar, apparently in response to reader questions.

The videos also feature Abu Jihad, another ethnic Chechen the recently-named Emir of ISIS in ad-Dana, and were made in response to questions and criticisms leveled at Umar after he pledged an oath of allegiance last month to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In this new video, Umar and Abu Jihad discuss the need to unite, and explain why spoils of war need to be distributed according to the Quran.

I have translated and summarized some of the key points below.


UMAR SHISHANI discusses the need for the Mujahideen to unite (this is part of his explanation of why he pledged an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month.)

Umar explains how the Islamic Ummah was divided and conquered by the infidels using an analogy: he says that a man cannot eat an entire loaf of bread just like that, he has to cut it into slices and eat it that way. That, Umar says, is what happened to the Ummah: it got divided up and conquered piecemeal, and that is how and the laws of the infidels got put in place on Islamic lands.

One of the points Umar makes is that the local people in Syria are keen to accept an Islamic State and to choose ISIS’s interpretation of Islam, as preached by the Mujahideen.

Umar says he has been in Syria for a year and 7 months and when he first got there, there were a lot of divisions. He describes how local people were excited about the Quran, and they came to religion like a man who was very hungry and that’s how they accepted Islam. Now there are lots of Muslims learning the Quran and this is a real result, he adds. Meanwhile, Western forces have been trying to infiltrate Syria with their concepts of democracy and so on.

What is needed is for the Mujahideen to unite, so that Syria can be defended and so that the laws of Allah can be implemented, Umar explains.

Abu Umar now talks about a tour he made this week — at this point the video is interspersed with still shots of the local landscape — and points out that he saw a great deal of banners proclaiming the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham around in ad-Dana and also in the “oblast” (i.e. province) of Raqqa.

Abu Umar talks about a unification that will stretch from Raqqa to ad-Dana in Idlib Province.

Of course there will be some people who try to fight against us and oppose us.

Abu Jihad then takes over and offers to say a few words about unification. The video now shows stills of various world leaders greeting each other, including Vladimir Putin with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and Bashar al-Assad with the Saudi King. We are also shown images of police officers standing next to praying Muslims, and crying children. Everyone is against the Mujahideen, and against the Muslims, is Abu Jihad’s point.

Yet the Muslims are one, Abu Jihad says: “we have one book. We are one.”

Abu Jihad goes on to make the case for unification: when there is no unity, every group is fighting its own battles for its own territory. But for unification to take place, there needs to be an Imam, a leader, who will set his own conditions.

Later in the video, ABU JIHAD discusses the topic of how to divide spoils of war captured from the Assad regime and the various issues involved in doing so.

Abu Jihad discusses why, under Islam and the rules of jihad, the spoils of war cannot simply be divided among the victorious army. During the reign of Caliph Umar, the division of spoils between the Islamic State and the conquering warriors was restricted such that a fifth of the spoils were retained for the Islamic State to be used for common benefit, while the remaining 80% were distributed among the Mujahideen. There are different rules for different types of spoils, i.e. booty obtained by fighting and booty obtained when an enemy retreats.

Abu Jihad offers some examples. If there is a tank, this cannot be simply divided up among the Mujahideen, it needs to be sold. Weapons are used against the infidels. Abu Jihad explains that the Islamic State cannot temporarily divide a fifth of its spoils among all the Muhajideen because then it would have no weapons left to build itself up into a larger fighting force.

Abu Jihad adds that he and Umar do not have time to make a lot of videos because they have other work to do, but they will make more to address reader questions. FiSyria has invited its readers to email in with questions for Umar or Abu Jihad.

Umar Shishani – “Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar Joined ISIS After Al-Baghdadi Oath”

In a recent video, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s northern region, the ethnic Chechen Abu Umar al-Shishani, responds to criticisms that he left his Chechen jamaat, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, when he swore allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

FiSyria, the Russian-language website that reports on developments connected with fighters from the North Caucasus in Syria, said that it had filmed a two-part video series with Umar and his associate Abu Jihad in the wake of many questions raised following Abu Umar’s announcement regarding the oath to Baghdadi.

BACKGROUND

Following Umar’s decision to swear allegiance to Baghdadi last month, and transfer his loyalties entirely to ISIS rather than to Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA), there was talk of a split among fighters from the North Caucasus in Syria, with some those who did not want to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi, either because they had already pledged to the Emir of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokku Umarov, or because they believed they should remain independent, remaining with JMA or going elsewhere.

In this video, the first of two, Umar denies that there is any split among his former jamaat, but says that it moved in its entirety over to ISIS.

FiSyria describes Abu Jihad as ISIS’s new Emir of ad-Dana in Idlib Province. (It appears that Abu Jihad fought with ISIS previously, given that FiSyria has featured earlier videos with Abu Jihad, including this one from July in which he appears with an ISIS banner and explains that the fighting in Syria is the faithful versus the infidels.)

Umar describes the fighting in Syria in jihadi terms. He does not mention the local struggle of the Syrian people against the Assad regime. Instead, the fighting is part of the Islamic struggle to rid the world of infidel regimes who are humiliating the Muslims and holding them in servitude.

Umar, who is from the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia as are many of his fellow-fighters, has grown in importance and influence since he established the Kataib al-Muhajireen in Summer 2012. That group merged with two other groups, Jaish Muhammad and Kataeb Khattab, to form JMA in March. Since then, Umar was named the military commander of ISIS’s Northern operations in Syria. The decision to swear an oath to al-Baghdadi and move over completely to ISIS along with some of JMA will likely consolidate his power yet further. Umar’s main rival, his former second-in-command Seyfullakh whom he expelled from JMA in August on charges of takfir and fraud, and has said that the split with Umar was ideological because he and his followers did not want to become closer to ISIS. However, Seyfullakh has not emerged an an influential figure to rival Abu Umar following the split.

Below is a translation of some of the main points of the video, with FiSyria’s introduction.

ABU UMAR AL-SHISHANI AND ABU JIHAD DISCUSS RECENT CHANGES IN THE JAMAAT

Recently, after Abu Umar Al-Shishani swore an oath to Abu Bakr al-Bagadadi, our editors have received many questions in relation to these global changes. With the permission of Allah, we met with Umar and asked him to clarify some points, and asked him some questions. Abu Jihad, who has today become the Emir of the town of Ad Dana in the Province of Idlib, explains in detail about the structure and purpose of ISIS. The video is divided into two parts.

The video was shot on December 8, 2013

  • Abu Umar begins by greeting “all brothers and sisters whose hearts are concerned by the current situation” in which the Ummah has been humiliated, and who are helping with the jihad.
  • Umar says that the success of the jihad would be the establishment of Sharia Law — Allah’s law — and that the Ummah would then be able to live under Allah’s law. The laws of the infidels, which for a long time had been imposed on the Ummah, would be removed.
  • Umar talks about how the Mujahideen are waging jihad “fi sabil Allah”, i.e. on the path of Allah.
  • Abu Umar then goes on to say that he decided to make the video address because he had had a lot of questions, and he wanted to answer them. Abu Umar introduces Abu Jihad, the Emir of ad-Dana. He then goes on to give some details about himself: he is now the Emir of Northern Syria, and previously was the Emir of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar.
  • Abu Umar now answers the question of why he made an oath of allegiance to Al Baghdadi, and explains that there were some Mujahideen from the Caucasus Emirate who decided that they had already made an oath to Dokku Umarov (the Emir of the Caucasus Emirate).
  • “There are some brothers — a number of them — not many, about 17, actually, we don’t know the exact number — who chose not to give an oath to ISIS, and who left.”
  • “There are some who said that I wanted to give an oath to Baghdadi to leave Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, but that is not correct.”
  • Almost all of the original group of ours, Kataib Muhajireen, about 80%, made the oath, and so we can say that we joined with ISIS

ABU JIHAD:

  • “I wanted to tell you about some new events that have happened here in the land of Sham. There have been a lot of rumors and untrue things flying around on the internet.”
  • Abu Jihad blames those who have not come to join the jihad but who have chosen to sow discord among the “brothers”.
  • “So we will try to explain some of the questions, so that people will know what is going on and so that they can’t say we don’t know and we are afraid that we don’t have any information, etc.”
  • Regarding JMA, I have known Emir Al Shishani for a while, who we named as Emir right from the start, from when we were 30 guys, then 50, then 60. (He is talking about Kataib al-Muhajireen — JP)
  • This jamaat gave its oath to al Baghdadi. Jaish went over to ISIS. So you cannot say that Umar left his jamaat. That’s just rumor. Why? Because it has no relation to the truth.
  • There was another group who joined us after Jaish was already formed and when it came time to make the oath, because they had already made an oath to Dokku, they left us.
  • Abu Jihad says that most of the other members of JMA made the oath, “A Caucasian group, after that a European group, after that an Arab group i.e,. all the jamaat with all its structure and members, went over to ISIS.”
  • “We are all part of the ISIS already” — there are no small groups who wanted to keep their own name or anything like that.
  • So the group that is calling itself Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar is not the same one as before.
  • So please don’t tell lies, that Umar left his jamaat, that is a lie.
  • The reason for the unification was so that everyone would be fighting under the same banner.)
  • Abu Jihad goes on to praise al Baghdadi, saying that he created a strong jamaat in Iraq that helped to kick out the American puppets and will do the same in Syria.