Enemies of Syria

Chechen terrorist, Saudi cleric on front lines in Syria

Chechen terrorist, Saudi cleric on front lines in SyriaA Saudi cleric and a Chechen militant commander in a unit of the al-Nusrah Front, al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, have been seen together after recent fighting against Syrian government forces in a mountainous area in the coastal province of Latakia.
Muslim al-Shishani, a Chechen extremist and al-Nusrah commander, is seen in a video with Abdallah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, an al-Qaeda-linked Saudi cleric, after the al-Nusrah Front attacked a Syrian military position in the eastern province. The video was posted on YouTube on March 26.
In the video, tens of extremist militants are shown walking around the captured outpost as fires, presumably caused by the fighting, are still burning.
The camera follows the red-bearded al-Shishani as he praises the extremists for the battle. At 0:58, the video pauses as he is pictured with another Chechen commander, Abu Tarab al-Shishani. The video then pauses again at 1:02 as Muslim and Muhaysini embrace.
The al-Nusrah Front has allied with Ahrar al-Sham, an al-Qaeda-linked group that is part of the Islamic Front, and a Salafist group known as Ansar al-Sham, in an offensive in Latakia.
Muhaysini, the Saudi cleric who moved to Syria in 2013 and has more than 240,000 followers on Twitter, has publicly supported the position of the al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front in their infighting with other militant group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). When he launched an initiative in January to reconcile the groups by creating a sharia court to settle disputes, Muhaysini cited al-Qaeda ringleader Ayman al-Zawahiri. In February, after the ISIL rejected his plan, Muhaysini called on ISIL militants and leaders to defect and join the al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front.
Muslim al-Shishani has been waging war for three decades, according to a video biography that was released in November 2013 and translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute.
Muslim al-Shishani “served in the air defense division of the Soviet army in Moldova” before the collapse of the Soviet Union, MEMRI reported. Afterwards he joined the war in Chechnya and fought alongside Ibn Khattab, a Saudi who led al-Qaeda’s International Islamic Brigade in Chechnya before he was assassinated by Russian forces in 2002.
In 2012, Muslim left the Caucasus to wage war in Syria and led a group known as Jund al-Sham, or the Army of Syria. His group, along with those under the command of Saifullah al-Shishani and another Chechen known as Abu Walid al-Shishani, merged with the al-Nusrah Front.
Two senior Chechen commanders, Saifullah al-Shishani and Muhammad al-Shishani, have been killed so far this year while fighting Syrian government forces in Aleppo.

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