Chechens now fighting on both sides of the Syrian conflict?

abu.omarThe “prestige” of Chechen fighters is growing among the rank-and-file of the “rebels.”  Abu Omar ash-Shishani (see image) will be a name we will know as commonly as we know Bin Laden’s in the near future–if he survives the Syrian war and his tuberculosis.  He is the northern commander of Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and was instrumental in recovering Raqqa, the only provincial capital held by “rebels” in Syria, from other “rebel” factions during the infighting. But I have just learned that it is quite possibly that there are also Chechens now fighting for Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria. This makes perfect sense.

First, jihadist Chechens have come to Syria not only to fight a mercenary war for the sake of “jihad” (and Gulf money of course), but also to fight Putin’s ally, Bashar al-Assad. The hatred of Putin and Russia runs so deep among the Chechen jihadists that many have come to Syria to strike a blow at Putin by participating in the struggle to topple one of his most important allies in the Middle East. But I’m learning now that Chechen forces are possibly fighting for Assad’s regime, which makes sense because the Chechen President Ramzan Kadrov is Putin’s ally and has long been fighting the Chechen Islamists.  These Chechens fighting for the Syrian regime could be part of the Chechen state’s desire to deliver a debilitating blow to the Chechen Islamists in Syria so as to prevent their return to Chechnya, while also supporting an ally to Russia.

If Chechen Islamists are fighting in Syria as part of their wider war against Putin and the Chechen state, then Chechen soldiers fighting for the Syrian regime are also part of the wider war to against Chechen Islamists and the preservation of a Russian ally.

This entry was posted in Syria. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Chechens now fighting on both sides of the Syrian conflict?

Comments are closed.