A prominent Chechen commander has been dispatched by the Islamic State to the fight in the strategic town of Kobani along the Syria-Turkey border where the jihadist group has suffered heavy fatalities, Kurdish media network Rudaw reported.
An unnamed source inside Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL) headquarters in Syria’s Raqqa province told Rudaw that Abu Omar al-Shishani, a prominent Chechen fighter, “has been ordered to leave Shingal area in Iraq, where ISIS forces are currently laying siege to thousands of Yezidi civilians protected by Yezidi brigades and Kurds from Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.”
The Chechen fighter was appointed IS commander of northern operations in 2013 and is “considered one of their most powerful military leaders,” reported the Kurdish news outlet.
According to the source, a large number of IS jihadists will be deployed to Kobani from Raqqa.
IS militants have laid siege to the strategic Syrian town of Kobani for over a month. The town has been defended by Kurdish fighters with the help of consistent U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.
Kurdish fighters have been able to seize back most of the town from ISIS militants.
The source spoke to Rudaw about infighting within ISIS saying “foreign fighters, known as Muhajirin, were complaining that their Syrian counterparts were not bearing the brunt of the organization’s high-casualty attacks.”
ISIS is preparing to deploy reinforcements to “Idlib province, southeast of Aleppo, to try to dilute the concentration of US-led coalition airstrikes in Kobane,” Rudaw reported.
Seizing Kobani would give IS militants control of 60 miles of land from Raqqa to the Turkish border. That would facilitate the entrance of foreign fighters into Syria through Turkey.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Sunday that 815 people were killed in Kobani between September 16, the day IS began attacking the border town, and October 25.
IS jihadists and Syrian Kurdish fighters suffered most of the fatalities.
Over half (481) of those killed were IS jihadists. Meanwhile, there were also 302 fatalities involving Syrian Kurdish fighters.