Below is a video from the YPG press office of a Russian Islamic State fighter, Vladimir Yurevich Oleynikov, who was captured allegedly attempting to cross into Turkey. Continue reading Video: Russian IS fighter from Kaspiysk, Dagestan arrested trying to cross into Turkey
Update as of 16 September — Al Bara has been confirmed alive, as are his wife and children.
Another update, as of 5 p.m. BST on 2 September — it seems like Al Bara’s family in Pankisi are not 100% sure whether he is actually alive or not, since they only received one message that is definitely him but after that nothing.
They wanted to believe in the best possible outcome — some of them still believe in it. But others seem not so sure.
I don’t like updating posts because it is confusing for readers. Usually I would make a new post. But in this case I will update this one, not only because I want to report correct information but because it’s a good way to illustrate how confusing information from Syria is.
I reported, based on sources (social media and sources in Georgia) that Al Bara Pankisi, a Kist (ethnic Chechen) from the Pankisi Gorge in Syria, had been reported killed in Syria along with his pregnant wife and two children. You can read my original post below. Al Bara was reported killed alongside his wife and two children when a car they were travelling in was shot at. The reason the news got out is because someone in Syria contacted Al Bara’s friends/relatives in Georgia and reported that it was him in the car. But last night his friends reported that they managed to talk to Al Bara and he and his family are alive and well. No one knows who was in the car, or whether it was a Chechen family or not.
So yes, Syria is a war zone and details of what is happening are often hard to verify, particularly when it comes to deaths. In this case, someone’s relatives and friends were led to believe that someone had been killed. Apart from the stress of having a relative or friend in Syria, imagine what the past few days must have felt like for the relatives and friends of Al Bara!
Just a few notes about something I found interesting in the recent biography of Umar Shishani that has been published in IS’s An Naba magazine, in the light of my recent post about the early days of the North Caucasian involvement in the Syrian conflict, and the ongoing attempts by Umar Shishani’s camp in IS (led by Abu Jihad) to deny that both Umar and Abu Jihad ever had a bayah (pledge of allegiance) to the Caucasus Emirate.
tl;dr: Abu Jihad throws shade at Imarat Kavkaz with the ultimate diss — pretending they never existed.
For the past few months, we have been tracking Voenkorr, one of the most prolific Russian-speaking Islamic State members who is also involved in IS’s Russian-language media group run by Abu Jihad. Here is some very interesting information about his background and radicalization, which ultimately led to his joining IS. Continue reading Meet Alibek, Ethnic Karachay Close To Abu Jihad Who Helps Run Furat Media
BY PETER DERGACHEV & JOANNA PARASZCZUK
In the light of the current media storm over the rumors that Chechen IS militant Akhmad Chatayev was behind the recent terrorist bombings in Istanbul, we are sharing some more information about him and his activities in Syria here. This is not to confirm the rumors in any way, but simply to add some facts to an increasingly speculative conversation. Continue reading Akhmad Chatayev Led IS’s North Caucasian Badr Katiba In Kobani, With Heavy Losses
Local media in Russia are reporting that the passport of a Russian militant, Andrey Karasik, has been found in Syria in areas liberated from IS by Kurdish militias. The suggestion is that Karasik and his wife and two children, also Russian converts, have been killed — though this is not proven. Continue reading How A Jewish Man & Professor’s Son From Volgograd, Nicknamed “Goldfish,” Joined IS
Said Buryatsky, a.k.a. Said Abu Saad, continues to be an important and influential figure in North Caucasian jihad circles, even after his death in 2010. Buryatsky is frequently mentioned by various North Caucasian groups in Syria — including North Caucasian factions in the Islamic State (IS) group, who employ his words and image often including as part of their attempts to legitimize their movement as a natural successor to the Caucasus Emirate. Continue reading An Note On How IS Chechens Use Said Buryatsky In Mythmaking
Musa Abu Yusuf Shishani of the Islamic State (IS) group has appeared in a new Furat Media video in which he criticizes the Caucasus Emirate (Imarat Kavkaz) and congratulates militants in the North Caucasus on the establishment of IS’s “Vilayat Kavkaz.” Continue reading Musa Abu Yusuf Shishani Criticizes Imarat Kavkaz In New Furat Media Video
Ethnic Karachay IS ideologue Abu Jihad appears in a video in the Karachay language [*] alongside other Karachay-Balkar [*] speakers. Continue reading Abu Jihad Appears In Karachay-Balkar IS Recruitment Video
IS’s announcement of “Vilayat Kavkaz,” the Islamic State group’s “province” in the North Caucasus was in large part the result of the rise to power and political machinations of North Caucasian militants not in Chechnya or Dagestan, but in Iraq and Syria. Continue reading Why Dagestani Preacher Nadir Abu Khalid’s Joining IS Was A Coup For Abu Jihad