ISIS commander Tarkhan Batirashvili–aka, “Omar the Chechen”–warns that Russia will soon be targeted by the Islamist group.
According to The Moscow Times, “Batirashvili has gained a fearsome reputation throughout the conflict in Syria.” Bloomberg News reports that he now seeks “revenge” on Russia over Moscow’s support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He gave voice to plans for this revenge while talking on the phone with his father, who lives in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge. He told his father: “Don’t worry dad, I’ll come home soon and show the Russians… I have many thousands following me and I’ll get more. We’ll have our revenge on the Russians.”
The Independent reports that estimates on the number of Chechen fighters in Syria “range between 200 and 1,000.” The “concern” is that these fighters are receiving training “to commit terrorist attacks on their return.”
In August ISIS released a video in which militants promised to strike Russia.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted the video. In it, militants standing on and around captured fighter jets say they have a message for Putin. Then one of them says: “Vladimir Putin. These are the planes that you sent to Bashar. Allah willing, we will take them back to your own turf and liberate Chechnya and the Caucasus.”
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