U.S.-designated terrorist joins Turkish-led Afrin operation

(Corrected: the photograph originally used on this story was not of Muslim al-Shishani as stated, but of Omar al-Shishani. The photograph has been changed to that of Muslim al-Shishani. There are no changes to the text.)

A Chechen jihadist commander listed as a terrorist by both the United States and the UN Security Council has joined the Turkish-led Afrin operation in Syria together with his fighters, Islamist newspaper Akit said.

Muslim al-Shishani, born Murad Margoshvili in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, made his name fighting Russian forces in Chechnya and Ingushetia before moving to Syria to create a new group and join the fight against President Bashar Assad’s government.

Shishani’s group, Junud al-Sham, is mostly composed of Chechens. Despite successes at the start of the Syrian conflict, financial difficulties have led to the group dwindling in numbers.

The United States has had sanctions on Shishani since 2014 as a specially designated global terrorist, whilst the UNSC put him on its terror sanctions list last year.