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Kadyrov Urges Chechens Fighting In Syria To Come Home, Turn Themselves In To Police


Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov

The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said that the parents of Chechen nationals who are fighting in Syria should help their children to return home and then hand them over to law enforcement.

Kadyrov made his comments at a meeting of the operational headquarters for the prevention of Wahhabism (a term used in Russia and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union to refer to extremist Islam) and extremism, according to the official website of the Chechen government. The meeting was attended by a number of government officials, including Head of Administration Magomed Daudov and Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov.

The Chechen leader said that Chechen nationals fighting in Syria would not be allowed to "be in the country again in an uncontrolled manner."

With a jab at the United States that is becoming a staple of his comments about the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria and Iraq, Kadyrov -- a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- suggested that the fighting in Syria was organized by U.S. intelligence.

"We don't need participants in a war organized by the American CIA. At one time, the [Chechen] Republic's population suffered from their policies. We will not allow this to happen again," Kadyrov said.

In comments earlier this month, Kadyrov said that the United States and its allies had "thought up" the Islamic State group "in order to destroy individual countries, to denigrate Islam to the whole world" and that the West had "given birth to a new project, [IS group leader] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."

Kadyrov said that the Chechen Republic was "one of the most stable and prosperous regions of Russia."

"Our task now is to rule out any likelihood of security threats. We should all be united in combating the remnants of bandit groups and individual terrorists," Kadyrov said, adding that the Chechen Republic had established three operational headquarters to coordinate the local authorities, the police, and clergy in the "prevention of Wahhabism and terrorism."

Kadyrov has previously played down the presence of Chechen nationals in Syria, saying that most of ethnic Chechens fighting in that country were members of the Chechen diaspora in Western countries. The Chechen leader said that the West was trying to portray Chechens as "terrorists and extremists."

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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