According to the newspaper’s interlocutor, Abu Khalif, or Shamil Izmailov, was born in 1980 in Astrakhan. He studied in one of the educational institutions in Egypt, after which he decided, together with his brother Arsen, to create in Alexandria a training center for immigrants from the CIS countries.
The institution was mainly trained by supporters of radical Islamic movements. The people involved in teaching in the center told them, in particular, how to conduct military operations in the territory of the Russian North Caucasus. According to the source, in 2012, Shamil Izmailov was deported from Egypt and subsequently joined one of the gangs in Syria.
Abu Banat, or Magomed Abdurakhmanov, is a native of the village of Khadzhalmakhi, Levashinsky District, Dagestan. Before becoming a militant, first in his homeland, and later in Syria, he worked in the Dagestan department for fighting extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Abdurakhmanov was dismissed from the power structure for "manifested cowardice and other behavioral facts that tarnish the honor of a law enforcement officer," says a source of Moskovsky Komsomolets. According to him, the fighter personally took part in the execution of two Syrian Orthodox priests in the "Independent Caliphate" in the summer of this year.
According to the MK source, since the Islamist enclave is out of the control of the military, as well as the opposition, conflicts often arise between Russians and local anti-government forces on this basis. Thus, in particular, as a result of an armed clash with the leadership of the so-called Syrian Free Army, about 30 people reportedly died.
At the moment, the newspaper writes, the SSA forces have deployed their roadblocks around the perimeter of the “Independent Caliphate” and are trying to restrict the admission of Russian extremists to its territory.
Russians in Syria
The fact that the militants from Russia are fighting in Syria, the Russian media have been writing since the summer of 2012. As stated by the deputy director of the FSB of the Russian Federation, Sergey Smirnov, in September of this year, their total number is approximately 300-400 people. He added that the return of such a detachment of mercenaries to Russia represents a great danger, including for the winter Olympics in Sochi. According to him, the legislation of the Russian Federation does not have a clear idea about the suppression of mercenarism, "therefore, we still need to work here."
Meanwhile, the Arabic edition of Al-Quds Al-Arabi at the same time reported a whole "Chechen division", formed from immigrants from this republic, fighting in Syria. It was alleged that it received the name "Al-Muhajirin" ("Emigrants") and employs about a thousand people, most of whom have experience of fighting in the Caucasus, and their camp is in Syrian Aleppo.
In May of this year, the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who previously denied the fact of Chechens staying on the territory of Syria, acknowledged that among the warring people in the country there are also residents of Chechnya. But at the same time, he accused the Western secret services of obstructing the return of natives of the republic living in Europe and Turkey to their homes, and using them for their own purposes, “directing” them to the same SSA.