Ukrainian trace in the "Islamic state"
Conflict in Donbas, case of the student-suicide from Kharkiv, and war in Syria became a litmus test to identify connections of the "Islamic state" with the territory of Ukraine
Kharkiv student from Jordan Mohammed Dalain blew himself up on October 3 during the celebration of the end of Ramadan at a busy market of Khan Bani Saad town, in thirty kilometers from Baghdad. 24 people become victims of the attack, more than 60 were injured. Shiite Muslims were mostly among the dead. What led the Kharkiv student to terrorist attack was a complete surprise for his teachers and friends. The Faculty of Medicine of Kharkiv University said that the guy was not particularly religious. He studied indifferently, but diligently attended classes, almost passed his exams, and had to come back in the fall for starting the course.
Recruited student bomber
The first information of a terrorist act committed by the student was announced by his father, member of the local parliament Mazen Dalain. According to him, the son was recruited by two guys from Azerbaijan, living in Kharkiv.
The Azerbaijani Diaspora responded that they do not know these people. However, even the students themselves are not sure that the recruiters were from Kharkiv. According to them, people, concerned in radical Islam, search information about it in Internet.
A student from Saudi Arabia, Dastan Al-Zubaidi studied at the same faculty with the suicide bomber. He states that few have heard about this story in the university.
"In my country, every week something explodes. No one pays attention to such stories", the student says.
According to Dastan, he was warned about the dangers and impact of ISIS "extremist videos", which inspire the future suicide bombers.
"In the past two months, Mohammed literally changed. He grew a beard, pulled away from friends, advised them to get back on the "right path". As his family discovered, Mohammed became interested in ideas of radical Islam, preached by ISIS terrorists, while living in Kharkiv, and not just himself, but with his Ukrainian wife. Along with it, they left Ukraine, but flew not to Jordan, but to Turkey, and then moved to Iraq."
The suicide’s relative Feras Dalain, also studying in Kharkiv University, comments 112.ua said that he does not know the details of the accident in Iraq, but it would be interesting "to learn from the media that really happened." He refused to talk something about Mohammed’s student life.
The history of Mohammed Dalain, 23-year-old Jordanian student from Kharkiv, who committed the attack in Iraq, was another evidence of large-scale work of terrorists of recruiting people to the "Islamic state" in Europe, including Ukraine.
ISIS and ATO
The presence of the ISIS in Ukraine was first reported by the Western media. Since the beginning of the military campaign in Donbas, information periodically appeared about connections of Chechen battalions, fighting on the side of official Kyiv, with the "Islamic state".
Until the latest time, three Islamic battalions were fighting in Donbas. Moreover, because of their high performance, they were usually performing in the most dangerous sections of the front. In particular, one of these the battalion of Sheikh Mansour, affiliated to Pravyi Sektor, is not formally part of the state military or law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.
With the exception of the common enemy, the Chechen battalions do not have much in common with Ukraine or its western allies, including the US.
Battalion of Sheikh Mansour representatives stated in an interview with The New York Times that they readily cooperate with the Ukrainian military, because like the latter, they "love the motherland and hate the Russians."
Europeans are not convinced by the assurances that the Chechens, who are fighting in the east of Ukraine, are not the religious extremists.
The French authorities are seriously concerned about the spread of Islamic extremism among migrants. Last year, two men of the Battalion of Sheikh Mansour were detained because of belonging to ISIS.
According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), in the period from June 2014 to June 2015 Ukrainian special services found and detained 18 supporters of the "Islamic State" at "transfer points", another 6 ISIS active militants were detained during attempts to enter Ukraine at the border checkpoints. SSU reported that there were no citizens of Ukraine among the detainees.
At the same time, the SSU has established that "Ukrainian citizens - residents of the Crimea can participate" in fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria
The SSU press service has announced that they had no information whether Ukrainians are fighting on the side of ISIS, or on behalf of the other groups.
Ukrainians in Syria
As a source in the SSU stated to 112.ua, the Crimean Tatars can participate in fighting in Syria as part of some groups operating along the border with Turkey.
The source said that they can conduct operations in both the Syrian Liberation Army, which is fighting with the Assad regime, and in the "Islamic state."
The participation of the adherents of radical Islam from Crimean Tatars, who preaches the ISIS, is not surprising, because Crimea is in the list of territories, where the "Islamic state" plans to install the caliphate.
At one of its web sites, ISIS means that the Muslims of "rich in oil and gold Crimea are under Russian oppression for many years" and the peninsula should be "liberated."
"It is possible that in the Syrian campaigns those Ukrainians from extremist groups can fight, who do not agree with the annexation of the Crimea. The war in Syria for them can embody a kind of war against Putin's Russia for the occupation of their land, but they are unlikely to be in plenty", said the source.
Subject of extremist groups in Crimea periodically surfaced in the media since the 90s. The conflict on the basis of division of land on the peninsula could wake smoldering extremism here, journalists wrote, speaking about the potential terrorist threat in Ukraine. In doing so, the Crimean Tatars have argued that if there is such a group, they are likely to have come from abroad.
The question remains, if there were extremist groups in Crimea, why they did not opposed the occupation of the peninsula in 2014, but fight now in other areas. It is known that after the occupation of the Crimea, Vladimir Putin has invited Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of the Crimean Tatars, to negotiatiations. One can only assume that Putin demanded Dzhemilev to use his influence on certain groups of the Crimean Tatars, potentially ready to conduct a guerilla war in the peninsula, in exchange for a guarantee not to crack down on the dissent.
"I doubt that it could be. You know that the Crimean Tatars are friendly. In addition, we all know how about Turkey’s position regarding ISIS", said Heorhiy Lohvynskiy, MP, consultant Congress of National Communities of Ukraine and the Crimean Tatar Majlis on international Legal Issues, ex-adviser to the head of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatars.
According to him, six months ago, he heard about the Crimean Tatars sent to Syria for the war on the side of the opposition. But the fact that the Tatars are fighting on the side of the terrorists of the "Islamic state" causes "a great doubt."
If the Crimean Tatars go to Syria, they do it only on an individual basis, said Lohvynskiy.
Fazil Amzaev, head of the information office of the Islamic political party "Hizb-ut-Tahrir" in Ukraine has repeatedly stated that his organization is not involved in the supply of fighters to Syria.
"The fact that some Crimean Tatars went to Syria to help the Syrian people against the tyrant Bashar is well known in the Crimean Tatar environment", he stated to 112.ua.
Where it’s hot
Because of decline of military operations in Donbas, foreign mercenaries began to leave the territory of Ukraine. According to the information owing by 112.ua, some of them have gone to fight in Syria in April-June. It is unknown whether such groups were composed of hired Ukrainian volunteers.
"If there were such cases, they are not mass phenomena. This is mainly about foreigners, it’s their work. And the desire of Ukrainians to fight in Syria mostly remains at the level of conversation, though there is some information about a couple of such guys", said a source in the SSU.
It was noted that in connection with Russian invasion to Syria, some groups close to ISIS recruit volunteers who have experience in dealing with the Russians and who know their techniques.
In addition, it was recently reported about disarming of "DPR-LPR" militants and conversing them into the official structures of the so-called "republics". Disappointed in idea of "Novorossia" and "Russian Spring" are now able to apply their skills on the side of Bashar al-Assad forces in Syria. It is possible that now the parties to the conflict in Ukraine will move their military theater from the steppes of Donbas to deserts of the Arab Republic - however, the fighting will have the different scale.
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