Syria Spotlight: Chechen Jihad Leader Abu Umar Al Shishani On Clashes With Kurds

Russian-language pro-jihadi site FiSyria, which reports on foreign jihadi fighters in Syria, has published an interview with Abu Umar Al Shishani (Abu Umar the Chechen), the ethnic Chechen leader of the foreign jihadi group Jaish Al Muhajideen wal Ansar.

Al Shishani, who is also the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Ash Sham’s northern operations, was reported killed by Kurdish sources following clashes with Kurdish fighters and Free Syrian Army insurgents along the Syria-Turkey border region. However, jihadi sources were fast to dispel the rumor, publishing photographs of Al Shishani.

The interview focusses on the clashes between ISIS and the Kurdish fighters. (NB FiSyria, like other jihadi sources, refers to the Kurdish faction as the Turkish PKK, while Kurdish sources say that the Syrian YPG is the group involved in the clashes.)

EA has reported on the clashes here and here.

EA has translated the interview in full, which offers insights into the incidents between ISIS/ Jaish Al Muhajireen Wal Ansar not only regarding the clashes with the Kurds in Atma, but also regarding the recent incidents between ISIS and the Free Syrian Army in the border town of Azaz in Aleppo Province.

A FiSyria correspondent interviewed Amir Umar as a result of the cross-border military confrontation in the region of the village of Atma between Mujahideen from ISIS and the PKK ( Kurdistan Workers Party ) .


There’s been a lot of talk about the battles against the Kurds near Atma. Typically, each big event gives rise to rumors, speculation, sometimes blatant misinformation. There is talk of a truce between ISIS and the PKK, and some have even listed its points. I would like to clarify, when was the armistice signed, and what points did it include?


Umar: So far, there has been no truce. Therefore, there can’t be any points. There is an agreement on a provisional cease-fire. And there’s a big difference between a temporary cease-fire and a truce.


Yes, there is a difference between these concepts. And how did this conflict start? What was the reason?


Some time ago, Kurdish fighters took over the hilltop near Atma and started to fire at the road. Mujahideen from ISIS responded quickly to protect the Sunni population. The Kurds were driven from the hilltops, having suffered losses. Three Kurdish militants were killed. On our side, there were no losses.

Unfortunately, this encounter of ours wasn’t given enough emphasis, and serious bases weren’t established in these places. As a result, for three days PKK fighters moved freely on these positions and thoroughly occupied the commanding hilltops. And we ”ve already had to storm the entrenched enemy.


Is there any information about the reason why the Kurdish Communists showed aggression?


Captured Kurdish militants claim that they had to gain a foothold in the hilltops, as they have been warned that Mujahideen from ISIS were preparing to attack their village. They claim that they were alerted by a senior member of the Free Syrian Army.


Did they name names?

Umar: Yes they did. But, naturally, we can not yet reveal it, relying solely on the testimony of prisoners. There needs to be an investigation under Sharia Law.


What combat troops participated in the assault on Kurdish positions, and what are the losses on both sides?


As well as our Mujahideen, units from Ahrar Sham, Jabhat Al Nusra, and Liwa Dawood. Altogether our losses were 15 martyrs, not counting the wounded. Of these, 9 martyrs were from the Jaish Al Muhajireen wal Ansar.

As for the Kurdish parties, we can not give a completely accurate figure. After the assault, we found three dead women on the Kurdish positions. On one of them a notebook was found, that listed the names of those killed and wounded. From this data, there were 85 of killed. It is unclear who the woman was, whether she was a commander, or responsible for the medical care of militants.


Yes, these figures are roughly consistent with our data. One of our Mujahideen, a Kurd by origin, told us that he got in touch with a relative of the village, and he cited a figure of about 90 killed.

So it’s not a rumor that there are Kurdish women in the military units of the PKK?


No, they’re not rumors. The PKK has imposed a rigid system on the Kurdish population. A policy that could be called a “policy of War Communism.” The Communists keep a record of every farm belonging to each family and impose various taxes on people. In addition, each family must supply young men and women to the PKK military forces. If a family has 4 daughters, one has to go serve in their army. If they don’t comply then the house and property of the family are torched.

That’s the Mafiosi-Communist system for you.


Is the military conflict in Atma is not the only incident with PKK militants?


Yes, this is not the first encounter. There are other cases. For example, when there was a conflict between ISIS and the invasion of the FSA’s Northern Storm Brigade in Azaz, PKK militants shot our Mujahideen in the back from their checkpoint when they went out on the offensive.

About a month ago there was a clash in Hasaka [Province] between our ISIS and fighters from the PKK on the Iraqi border. By the way, there were 7 women among the captives then.


Yes, apparently the global infidels will try to use any organization that doesn’t profess the Islamic faith against the Mujahideen…


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