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'Kill An American, Kill A Frenchman,' Chechen IS Militant In Kobani Tells Compatriots In Europe


A screen grab from a video purportedly showing a Chechen militant in Syria exhorting his compatriots to join Islamic State.

A screen grab from a video purportedly showing a Chechen militant in Syria exhorting his compatriots to join Islamic State.

Chechen Islamic State (IS) militants in the Syrian town of Kobani have urged Chechens in Europe to either join in the fighting in Syria, or commit acts of terror in Europe.

In a video published by ShamToday on October 26, the media wing associated with the predominantly Chechen Islamic State (IS) faction Katibat Al-Aqsa, a Chechen militant named Musa Abu-Yusuf Shishani calls on the Chechen diaspora to join IS.

The video, in Chechen, was shared on several pro-Islamic-State Russian-language social media accounts on October 26 and offers insights into the attitudes of Chechen IS militants who are on the frontline in Kobani. (It was removed by YouTube on October 27)

The speaker in the video, Musa Abu-Yusuf, is filmed in front of a burned-out car and claims he is in Kobani.

Musa Abu-Yusuf says that IS militants are defending not only against attacks from the Kurds, but also from the entire world, who have "suddenly started to defend the Kurds."

He calls on all Chechens in Europe "not to look for reasons not to come [to Syria], you are obliged to come, and kill everyone."

"There are no civilians," Musa Abu-Yusuf adds. "Kill them all wherever they are, that is, in Europe itself. Kill just one Frenchman, one American, then they will rise up. Kill them all, wherever they are. In Europe."

There is a large Chechen diaspora in Europe, many of them refugees from the First and Second Chechen Wars. According to the Jamestown Foundation, there may be as many as 30,000 Chechens in France, 25,000 in Austria and 17,000 in Belgium. There is also a large Chechen diaspora in Turkey, including representatives from the North Caucasian militant group, the Caucasus Emirate. While exact numbers are not known, some of the Chechen fighters in Syria have come from the Chechen diaspora.

Musa Abu-Yusuf is a member of the Katibat Al-Aqsa ("Al-Aqsa Brigade"), a predominantly Chechen and Russian-speaking faction that has been closely tied to IS military commander in Syria Umar Shishani.

Last week, RFE/RL published evidence that Katibat Al-Aqsa was present in Kobani.

Social media accounts linked to Katibat Al-Aqsa and the faction's militants have published a small number of photographs that they claim have been taken inside Kobani. One photo, published last week, shows a militant in Kobani and is captioned, "The Kurdish people know this man's face, many people have been orphaned because of him and many men have lost their wives."

-- Joanna Paraszczuk, with thanks to Chechen analyst Dr. Mairbek Vatchagaev (@Mairbek_France) for the translation from Chechen

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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