An essay written by a North Caucasian Russian-speaking woman and wife of a Russian-speaking jihadi formerly based in Latakia province in Syria (and not connected in any way with The Islamic State group) was posted on 8 July on the telegra.ph site. As part of my work I collect posts/essays/poems etc by Russian-speaking fighters — almost all of which are written by men. Because this is comparatively unusual I thought I’d quickly translate and share it. We don’t often get a glimpse of the lives of the Russian-speaking women who have accompanied their husbands to Syria — and the overwhelming majority of what has been written is about IS “jihadi brides” or women connected with IS in other ways. Anyway the original piece has some rather fascinating photos of the interior of the house that the woman describes, which I have also posted here.
Two sources say that Abu Bakr Shishani, Muslim Shishani’s former military amir, has his own jamaat in Latakia. Continue reading Abu Bakr Shishani (Muslim’s Former Military Amir) Has His Own Jamaat
Al Bara Pankisi (also known as Al Bara Shishani), an ethnic Chechen fighter from the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, has joined the IS group, sources say. Continue reading Al Bara Pankisi Thought To Have Joined IS
Veteran Chechen fighter Abu Bakr Shishani is fighting alongside the Chechen-led group Ajnad al-Kavkaz in Latakia province, sources have confirmed. Continue reading Abu Bakr Shishani Now Fighting Alongside Ajnad al-Kavkaz In Latakia
Chechen militant Muslim Shishani, the Emir of the Latakia-based Junud al-Sham group, has made a new video address in which he talks of the difficult situation in Latakia province and calls on other mujahideen elsewhere in Syria as well as outside the country to come to assist in the fight.
The video is seven minutes long.
It was released amid reports that the Syrian Arab Army has entered the rebel stronghold of Salma in Latakia assisted by Russian air strikes. (Though it seems that the video was made on January 10).
Here are a few of Muslim’s remarks:
— the situation [in Latakia province] is complex
— this is not because the enemy is very strong and we can’t do anything
— They brought their whole strength in order to knock us out of here
— and if you look at our numbers, they should have done that long ago
— But the small number of muhajideen here are doing the maximum possible
— We don’t understand it, it’s like we are cut off from the other part of Syria, no one is rushing to help us, even though there are enough mujahideen in Syria, the important thing is to distribute them properly
— We understand that there are difficult places there too [i.e. militants are struggling elsewhere in Syria]
Muslim then begins a rant addressed at those who are not coming to help fight in Latakia.
He says that on Judgement Day, people will be judged according to what they did or did not do.
He calls on the mujahideen to remember why they went out to jihad and come to “help their brothers.”
— “The brothers are overloaded to the max,” he says.
When his group had enough militants, they went to help in various situations, Muslim says.
Muslim talks about the difficulties his jamaat experienced because of the “fitna” with the IS group including difficulties in fundraising.
He said, “Мы стучались в двери ко многим, кто мог хоть как-то помочь удержать джамаат” — “we knocked on the doors of many [people] who could somehow help to maintain the jamaat.”
As a result of the financial difficulties, Muslim says he had to let many of his fighters go.
The fact that Muslim has admitted his financial difficulties and that his numbers have dwindled is significant. Reliable sources say that Muslim’s jamaat dwindled significantly — some say he has only around 30 North Caucasian militants. But this is a problem faced by other non-IS North Caucasian groups in Syria, mostly because of the rise of the IS group and its comparative recruitment and fundraising power. (Internal politics and squabbling also played a role — I have written about the reasons why Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar fell apart as a North Caucasian group elsewhere.)
Muslim also complains that people who say they want to wage jihad are not doing so because they are hearing that there is a fitna and that Muslims are killing each other or that there are not enough fighters in Syria.
“We find this difficult to understand,” Muslim says.
Muslim refers to a hadith in which Muhammad asks God to bless Sham (Syria) and Yemen.
“You are not going out [to jihad] at a time when the Ummah really needs you,” he said.
All of the jamaats are in a difficult position, Muslim adds.
The Latakia-based Chechen-led group Ajnad al-Kavkaz have made a short video showing off two “trophies” that they claim to have captured from Russian forces. Well, not captured exactly but rather found after Russian forces allegedly fled from a hilltop that Ajnad say they captured in Latakia. Continue reading Ajnad Al-Kavkaz Find Machine Gun & Bullet Proof Vest Belonging to ‘Sulimov’ in Latakia
Muslim Shishani, the Emir of Junud al-Sham, a small Latakia-based North Caucasian group of about 30 North Caucasian militants*, has given an interview to Turkish-language Al-Jazeera, which someone has conveniently translated into Russian. So I have translated it into English. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the Russian translation from Turkish, and it sounds as clunky as heck, so caveat emptor. Continue reading Translation Of Muslim Shishani’s Interview With Al Jazeera Turkish
Amid all the reports of the Russian military build up in Latakia, there have been rumors and reports in the Russian media relating to Chechen militants in Assad’s coastal stronghold province.
Chechen-led faction Ajnad al-Kavkaz have denied a report in Russia’s pro-Kremlin RIA Novosti that the Syrian Army has killed 19 of its militants. Continue reading Ajnad Al-Kavkaz Deny Reports Syrian Army Killed Its Militants
Ansar al-Sharia is a Latakia-based jamaat led by a Kist (ethnic Chechen) from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, Al-Bara Pankiski. Continue reading Ansar Al-Sharia, A Pankisi Kist Led Jamaat In Latakia
Veteran Chechen militant Abdul Hakim Shishani, the emir of the Latakia-based Ajnad al-Kavkaz (AK) faction (formerly known as the Khalifat Battalion or Khalifat Jamaat) has been linked to a member of a Chechen militant group who fought alongside Emir Khattab, the Saudi foreign fighter who fought in the first and second Chechen wars. Continue reading Abdul-Hakim Shishani, Emir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz, Linked To Khattab