Cover Osteuropa 8/2014

In Osteuropa 8/2014

From Grozny to Aleppo
North Caucasian Jihadists in the Syrian Civil War

Emil Souleimanov

Deutsche Fassung


The civil war in Syria has attracted hundreds of fighters from the Northeast Caucasus. One of the top military leaders of the terror group Islamic State is Omar al-Shishani, a Chechen. By fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the jihadists from Dagestan, the Chechen diaspora, and northern Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge are seeking to weaken a Russian ally now that the struggle in Russia has become too dangerous for them and their families. Even if they join in the rhetoric of the struggle against infidels, most of them aim to take the struggle back to their homeland. In early 2014, this led to a split between the internationalist Islamic State and the North Caucasians fighting on the Nusra front.

(Osteuropa 8/2014, pp. 17–26)