Syrian ex-jihadists may destabilise Azerbaijan

Syrian ex-jihadists may destabilise Azerbaijan –



The number of Azerbaijanis joining the fighting in Syria increased dramatically in 2013. Baku has taken a mixed approach to the issue of those going abroad to fight. Traditionally, the government has taken a uniformly hard-line approach towards Islamist activity in Azerbaijan, often using anti-terrorist rhetoric as cover for suppressing latent political opposition. It has not been nearly as proactive in identifying and inhibiting the flow of volunteers from Azerbaijan to Syria. Regime officials may once have seen some advantage in allowing militant Salafis — adherents to an especially austere brand of Sunni Islam — to leave the country, but their potential return in large numbers could prompt a more aggressive government policy on the issue.

Most of the azerbaijani jihadists have joined The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). 

 In a video address by the Amir of the Raqqa-based Azerbaijani jamaat in ISIS, Muhammad Azeri and his second-in-command Umeir say that ISIS is on the correct path in Syria, and those who criticize them are “Khawarj” — a sect of Islam whose members are on the wrong path. The address comes after various individuals and groups have declared ISIS as “Khawarij”.

The Video was posted last April on the internet on Russian-language forums run by Russian-speaking fighters in the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham and their supporters. 

Watch the video


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