A group of Chechen militants fighting with Islamic State (IS) in the Syrian town of Kobani have said they will not allow the Kurdish people to be "symbolized by godlessness and communism."
The militants, who are part of the predominantly Chechen Al-Aqsa Brigade, filmed themselves setting fire to two Kurdish flags and a banner representing the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia fighting IS in Kobani.
The video footage, filmed on November 10 in Kobani, has been shared on Russian-language social networks belonging to Chechen militants in IS.
Three militants are shown in the video. The speaker is a militant named Musa Abu Yusuf Shishani, who previously made a video address from Kobani calling for members of the Chechen diaspora in Europe to attack civilians. A second militant is a Chechen who calls himself Salakhuddin Shishani.
"We are now in the town of Kobani. These flags that you can see symbolize the communist, atheist, godless Kurdistan, under which they are trying to unite the Kurdish people," says Musa Abu Yusuf.
Musa Abu Yusuf is referring to the Marxist ideology of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with which the YPG is affiliated via the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
The militant goes on to assert that there "will not be any communist, godless Kurdistan. However, there will be a Wilayat Kurdistan [Kurdistan province] in the caliphate [the name given to the lands controlled by IS militants] and none of these flags or symbols will symbolize the Kurdish people. The Kurdish people will be symbolized by Islam and the caliphate."
Photos of Musa Abu Yusuf and Salakhuddin were shared on November 12 on Russian language pro-IS accounts, which have dubbed the two men the "saviors of the Kurdish people in Ayn al-Arab [IS’s name for Kobani]." In other photos, Salakhuddin is shown in Kobani smashing a small statuette of a female figure.
-- Joanna Parasczuk