Interview with al-Bara al-Shishani, the military emir of Liwa al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (LMA)
Syria is home to numerous Jihadist groups and especially Jihadist groups composed of foreign fighters. There are Albanians, Kosovars, Macedonians, Saudis, Turks, French, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Azerbaijanis, Chechens, Dagestani, etc.
Numerous fighters from the States of the former Soviet Union or the Russian Federation have decided to continue fighting against Russia or to continue the Jihadist struggle but in another theatre of operations. One of these is the “Army of emigrants and supporters”, Liwa al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (LMA), born from the merger of three jihadist groups under the command of Abu Omar al-Shishani, which in 2013 created an internal split by swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with hundreds of fighters joining the Islamic State. Instead, the original group began cooperating with the al-Nusra Front in 2014 and became a member group of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in January 2017.
The group operates in the governorates of Latakia, Aleppo and Idlib and consists of between 400 and 500 fighters, most of them Chechens. One of them is its military emir al-Bara al-Shishani, whom I interviewed in early January 2023.
Below is the full interview: