Out of interest, I have translated a few personal reactions of Russian-speaking mujahideen (which includes both those who are fighting in jamaats and those who are media activists* in Syria, these do not include any individual in IS nor connected to or supportive of IS) to the talks in Astana. The individuals were not expressing the views of any jamaat or group. Continue reading Some comments from Russian-speaking fighters/media mujahideen on Astana talks
I reported fairly recently on the fact that Tarkhan’s Jamaat have renamed themselves as Katiba Ibad ar—Rahman and had answered a few questions I put to them. Continue reading Tarkhan Gaziyev ‘Prevented By Illness From Joining Jamaat In Syria’
Someone on Twitter asked me why Sayfullakh Shishani left Umar Shishani’s jamaat back in 2013.
I realized that I had translated part of a letter written by Khalid Shishani, who used to be part of Sayfullakh’s jamaat, who gave his account of what had happened. Umar is not portrayed in a good light here — Khalid did not admire Umar. However, it seems as if I did not post my translation anywhere (if I did, I cannot find it here — the search has been terribly slow lately. Anyway it can’t do any harm to post it twice.) Continue reading Khalid Shishani On Why Sayfullakh Shishani & Umar Fell Out
Trusted sources who knew Rustam Gelayev, the son of Chechen commander Ruslan Gelayev, well (and who were also acquainted with Ruslan), have confirmed that Rustam was killed in Syria in August 2012 and have given more details about the early days of the North Caucasian involvement in the Syrian civil war, which show that Imarat Kavkaz was involved in the conflict, in a sense, from very early on. It also gives clues to the struggles within IK, including between its Chechen and Kabardinian elements. Continue reading 1st Imarat Kavkaz Amir in Syria Fought Alongside Gelayev In Chechnya, Died Fighting Alongside Ahrar
North Caucasian fighters in Syria have commented on social media about Umar Shishani, with interesting reactions to comments by other fighters that Umar was not a good military commander. While the debate over Umar has been incredibly polarized, with anti-IS North Caucasians slamming him and IS mythologizing him (and reports in the Western press doing the same, more on that below), here we have some context from North Caucasians who experienced the conflict first hand. I have translated the comments below. Continue reading North Caucasian Fighters: Umar Shishani Was Brave, Honest & Talented Even If He Made Mistakes
The Chechen-led group Ajnad al-Kavkaz have issued a statement in Turkish on their website that condemns the 28 June 2016 terrorist bombing at Ataturk Airport. (Updated 9 July: the group has issued a longer statement in Russian setting out their position on the attack in Istanbul and on the 5 July bombing in Medina).
Continue reading UPDATED: Ajnad al-Kavkaz Issue Statement Condemning Istanbul Terror Attacks
I am now in a position to report more information on Katibat Junud al-Makhdi (KJM), the newly formed Tatar and Bashkir jamaat in Syria, which was created from the merger of two existing groups, Jamaat Bulgar and Jaish al-Shomal al-Islami. Continue reading More Detailed Information & Interview With Newly-Formed Tatar Group Junud Al-Makhdi Whose Amir Trained In North Caucasus With Khattab
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
You know those days when you wake up and plan to write about Tajiks in IS, but then a totally unknown group of Tatars from Kazan appear and make a video address? Yeah, I know. Continue reading Meet The Tatar & Ural Katiba Al-Mahdi, in Syria via Kazan
Ever since the first reports of Russian-speaking militants fighting in Syria emerged in the media, questions have been raised about the specter of “blowback” — i.e. what would happen if and when some of these militants returned home to wage “jihad” in the Russian Federation. Here is evidence of one militant who did return from Syria to Dagestan, where he was killed in a counter-terrorism operation and was suspected of preparing to commit terror attacks in that North Caucasus republic. Continue reading Umar Shishani’s Man Who Fought At Menagh, Then Was Killed In Dagestan