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Kyrgyz National Reported Killed Fighting With Jabhat Al-Nusra In Syria

According to some estimates, 2,000-4,000 citizens of Central Asian states have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for, or otherwise support, Islamic State. (file photo)

A 25-year-old Kyrgyz citizen has been killed in Syria, Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Radio Azattyk on February 3.

The man was from the village of Savay in the Kara-Suu district of Kyrgyzstan's southern province of Osh.

According to the police, the man had been recruited by his relative, who is also a resident of the Kara-Suu district.

The Kyrgyzstan-based news website also reported on February 3 that police had arrested a 26-year-old Kyrgyz man from the Kara-Suu district on suspicion of recruiting local people to fight in Syria. The man, who has been named only as A.T., was actively recruiting for Jabhat Al-Nusra in the Osh and Batken provinces.

Among those recruited by A.T. was his relative, A.Kh., who was reported killed in Syria.

The Interior Ministry said that police are working to identify the connections between A.T. and others in Kyrgyzstan who are involved in activities on behalf of international terrorist groups.

The ministry said that "preventative measures and community outreach" were being employed in the south of Kyrgyzstan as part of a "comprehensive effort to combat the radicalization of the public mood and the spread of extremist ideology."

Rafik Mambetaliev, the head of the Interior Ministry's Antiterrorism 10th Department, told Radio Azattyk on February 2 that during 2014, police had uncovered 86 instances of recruitment of Kyrgyz citizens to fight in Syria.

Of those, 23 criminal proceedings have already commenced, while the remainder are under investigation.

According to the Interior Ministry, 188 Kyrgyz citizens have been recruited to fight in the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Meanwhile, 22 Kyrgyz nationals have been killed in Syria, according to Radio Azattyk.

The Kyrgyz nationals in Syria -- who include ethnic Uzbeks -- are fighting with various groups. These very likely include the Imam Bukhari Jamaat, a predominantly ethnic Uzbek group that has pledged allegiance to the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, and which fights alongside Jabhat Al-Nusra in Aleppo province in Syria. Ethnic Uzbeks, possibly from Kyrgyzstan, are also fighting in the Sabri's Jamaat faction, which is now part of the Islamic State group (IS) and which consists predominantly of ethnic Uzbek and Daghestani militants.

A recent report by the International Crisis Group found that between 2,000 and 4,000 citizens of Central Asian states have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for or otherwise support IS.

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.


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