Chechens are ruthless jihadists, no surprise they’re popping up in Syria in leadership roles.
A commander from the Russian Caucasus known as Abu Omar al Chechen is a key leader in the Muhajireen Brigade, a jihadist group that fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant against the regime of President Bashir al Assad. The Muhajireen Brigade, whose members include fighters from the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, has played a vital role in overrunning several major Syrian military installations over the past year.
Abu Omar “is an Emir of Mujahideen Brigade of Muhajirs, or migrants … which also includes volunteers from the Caucasus Emirate,” according to Kavkaz Center, a media arm of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Caucasus Emirate. Kavkaz Center posted a video of an appeal by Abu Omar on its English-language website on Feb. 7.
In the video, Abu Omar, sporting a red beard and what appears to be a North Face cap, is seen seated among 19 heavily armed jihadists, many of whom are masked. Two of the jihadists are seen holding al Qaeda in Iraq’s flag. The Al Nusrah Front, with which the Muhajireen Brigade is closely allied, is al Qaeda in Iraq’s affiliate in Syria, according to the US government.
According to Kavkaz Center, the Muhajireen Brigade “is one of the most active units of Mujahideen fighting in Syria against the Alawite regime of Assad and Iranian mercenaries rafidites [those who reject Islam].”