Chechen women conned the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) out of almost $3,300 after they pretended to be prospective brides for terrorists. Instead, the three women wanted to use the money for a vacation.
Jihadists reached out to the girls on social media about joining their Caliphate. They remained in touch with the jihadists and even sent them fake pictures. ISIS sent the girls the money, who then closed the accounts and stopped all communication.
“I don’t recall any precedent like this one in Chechnya, probably because nobody digs deep enough in that direction,” explained police officer Valery Zolotaryov. “Anyhow, I don’t advise anyone to communicate with dangerous criminals, especially for grabbing quick money.”
Outside of the Middle East, Russia and Chechnya top the list of foreign fighters in the radical Islamic group, including females. In March, a man named Abu Dudjana shared a message on his VKontakte (Russia’s version of Facebook) from Russian women within ISIS who encouraged other Russian women to join them in Syria. The women claim they are in “the blessed land of Sham,” which is the name other Caliphates have used for a region that includes most of Syria. They ask their sisters “in the lands of the infidels” to join them, since Russia “is a state of humiliation and shame.”
A Chechen mother kidnapped her Dutch-born children, ages 8 and 7, and fled to Syria to join ISIS. Her ex-husband alerted police that his wife might flee the country. His worst fear came true when “the head teacher of the children’s Islamic school alerted” him “after his ex-wife printed plane tickets to Greece for herself and their children.”
Earlier this month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov announced that over 2,200 Russians are currently fighting in ISIS.
“The figures start getting really alarming,” he stated, adding:
At the time being, around 2,200 people from Russia are engaged in the fighting in Syria and Iraq. Among them, about 500 came from Europe, where they had earlier obtained citizenship, residence permit or refugee status. We are thoroughly analyzing belligerent statements of IS leaders on transition of the “jihad” to Northern Caucasus and in Central Asia.
Over 400 Chechens traveled to Syria to join radical Islamic groups since the civil war broke out in 2011.
“A total of 405 people, according to our data, have left Chechnya to join the fighting in Syria on the side of the Islamic State since the beginning of the war in that region,” said the Ministry of the Interior’s spokesman. “Among those, 104 have been killed and 44 came back, while the fate of the rest is unknown.”
Chechens in Syria threatened President Vladimir Putin for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and vowed to liberate Chechnya and Russia’s North Caucasus in a video released last September.
“We will, with the consent of Allah, free Chechnya and all of the Caucasus!” said the fighter. “The Islamic State is here and will stay here, and it will spread with the grace of Allah! Your throne has already been shaken. It is under threat and will fall with our arrival. We’re already on our way with the grace of Allah!”
The Islamic State allegedly shot the video at an airport in Raqqa after they seized it from the Syrian Army. A Russian speaker described the jets and military equipment to the IS fighters. He confirmed it all came from Russia.
Among the Islamic State’s most revered military leaders is Omar al-Shishani, “Omar the Chechen,” who is believed to be in charge of much of ISIS’s military strategy in Iraq and Syria. The fair-skinned, red-haired militant sticks out in videos and photos distributed by the terrorist group. Murad Margoshvili, also known as Muslim al-Shishani, is another Chechen figure in ISIS and “has a Che Guevara status” in Syria.