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Azerbaijanis Killed In Syria, Pro-Government Outlets Report

A screen grab from the video purporting to show Azerbaijani Fariz Dostaliyev enjoying a meal while fighting with Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

A screen grab from the video purporting to show Azerbaijani Fariz Dostaliyev enjoying a meal while fighting with Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Pro-government news portals in Azerbaijan have reported the deaths of two Azerbaijani militants in Syria this week.

The pro-government portal reported on February 11 that Fariz Dostaliyev, a resident of Sangachal village south of Baku, had been reported as having been killed fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS) group.

The reports of Dostaliyev's death came after a video apparently showing the militant in Syria was uploaded onto YouTube on January 28. In the video a militant identified as Dostaliyev is shown with a group of Azeri speakers enjoying a large meal that included shashlik -- a type of shish kebab -- bread, salads, and soft drinks. The Azerbaijani militant, who fought alongside IS, called on his father to join him in Syria, where they could eat shashlik. cited unnamed relatives of Dostaliyev as saying that they had been contacted by militants in Syria who said that the Azerbaijani fighter had been killed on February 10.

A police source was quoted as saying that Dostaliyev was just "a young man."

"Well, he ate a shashlik before he died," the police source added, according to

The news of Dostaliyev's death also came after reports that another Azerbaijani man had also died in Syria. Pro-government website reported on February 10 that 28-year-old Ismail Ismailov from the Khachmaz district in northeastern Azerbaijan had been killed, though there were no further details.

Ismailov's brother Rustam told the media about the death, which he learned about through social media. Rustam said that "unknown people" had posted a photograph of Ismailov and a message saying he had been killed. The social media page was later deleted, Rustam said.

It is not known how many Azerbaijanis are fighting in Syria. Estimates in news reports have ranged from 200 to 300.

The largest group of Azerbaijani foreign fighters in Syria is likely fighting for IS. In May, the leader of an Azerbaijani IS faction in Raqqa, Mohammad al-Azeri, gave a video address in which he stated that IS was on the "correct path of jihad" in Syria.

-- 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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