ISIS leader: ‘We will not leave until you repent and surrender’
February 6, 2014
SOIL OF THE CALIPHATE: The Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) on Wednesday released a triumphalist video addressing the rebel groups that have been fighting against it in northern Syria since early January while displaying footage of their victories.
“We will not leave until you repent and surrender yourselves and your weapons to the Islamic State’s bases,” vows Tarkhan Batirashvili—a red-bearded, ethnically Chechen ISIS leader more commonly known by his Arabic nom de guerre Omar al-Shishani—speaking to what he called the “Sahwat Army,” a reference to Iraqi Sunnis who were paid by America to fight al-Qaeda in their country.
Shishani, which means “Chechen” in Arabic, goes on to address the Syrian people, declaring: “These traitors have sold you out and compromised with the tyrant [Assad]. We didn’t come to fight you and drink the blood of Syria’s youth—we want to stop the bloodshed.”
Recent fighting in northern Syria has been particularly intense around the village of al-Ra’ee, in northern Aleppo province near the Turkish border. Earlier this week ISIS claimed control of it from rival Jaysh al-Mujahideen following an ISIS suicide attack against Jaysh al-Mujahideen’s headquarters.
Clashes for control of al-Ra’ee are ongoing, with Islamic Front member-group Liwa a-Tawhid spearheading the fight against ISIS. A citizen journalist in Aleppo told Syria Direct that rebel forces had claimed control of an ISIS checkpoint near al-Ra’ee Thursday morning.
Last Sunday, Liwa a-Tawhid leader Abd al-Azeez Salaama declared that ISIS’ operations “serve the interests of the regime.” He went on to condemn ISIS’ car bombings against rebel installations, stating that “ISIS has sent more than 45 car bombs to mujahideen checkpoints.”
“With God’s permission, this soil will be the soil of the caliphate,” added Shishani.