The commander of Jund al Qawqaz is fighting Russia in Ukraine
A video was posted showing the leader of the “Jund al Qawqaz” (Soldiers of the Caucasus) terrorist group Rustam Azhiev, known as Abdul Hakim al Shishani, on the battle fronts in Ukraine, talking about the group and leaving the battlefields in northwestern Syria.
Azhiev appearing in the fronts in Ukraine opened the door to a debate regarding the fate of the northern Syria.
On January 7, the Ukrainian Intelligence Service posted a video showing Chechen fighters, including the leader of “Jund al Qawqaz” (Soldiers of the Caucasus) group, Abdul Hakim the Chechen on the fronts of the city of Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine.
Azhiev said that the Chechen volunteers, as part of the International Corps, continue to defend Ukraine in the hot spots of the front, and among the volunteers is him, the hero of the Chechen people of Ichkeria, whose division is fighting against the Russians.
On October 15, 2022, Rustam Azhiev was promoted to the rank of colonel in the Armed Forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
Rustam Azhiev left Idlib for Ukraine in October 2022, along with 25 members of his group, after coordinating with military groups from the Chechen “Sheikh Mansour” battalion, which is fighting alongside the Ukrainian forces against the Russian forces.
While the Russian-American researcher and research fellow at Harvard University, Vera Mironova, said via Twitter, that when the war in Ukraine began, Rustam Azhiev was arrested by the Turkish authorities on charges of murder, but he was released in October 2022.
Later, and in less than a week he appeared in Ukraine.
Reports says that the Turkish authorities arrested Rustam Azhiev because of a statement made by businessman Eric Jafarov (who was recently arrested in the Netherlands) about extortion of money.
Rustam Azhiev, who’s known by Abdul Hakim al Shishani, faced trial twice in Istanbul, and was released after Six months, and all charges were dropped.
The American Jamestown Strategic Foundation said that with the escalation of pressure from Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, other foreign volunteer groups were dismantled or absorbed into larger factions, which forced some leaders to move to Türkiye, including Abdul Hakim al Shishani himself.
In 2021, the Turkish Intelligence Service arrested an assassination squad that said it planned to assassinate at least two Chechen immigrants, on the orders of the President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and the target of the assassination was Abdul Hakim al Shishani.
Abdul Hakim al Shishani’s appearing in Ukraine opened the door to a debate in northern Syria between leaders of the factions, between whom an old renewed dispute prevails, and accusations between leaders of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham that has military influence in Idlib, and identifiers affiliated with the supported the Turkish backed Syrian National Army from Türkiye.
Abdul Hakim al Shishani is the commander-in-chief of the “Jund al Qawqaz” (Soldiers of the Caucasus) group, and he has great experience in warfare.
The American Jamestown Strategic Foundation stated that the fighters have relatively large combat experience among themselves, and it seems that Ukraine’s intention to use it well is well thought out.