12 Chechen Fighters Killed in Central Syria

Chechen Rebels Have Flocked to Syria to Fight Russian-Backed Govt

Rocket attacks in the Hama Province have killed 12 rebel fighters today, according to opposition spokesman, and all 12 have been identified as Chechens who came to the country specifically to join the rebellion.

The report didn’t provide details on which faction they belonged to, but large numbers of Chechen fighters have been flocking to Syria for months, mostly to join the Islamist factions in the country.

While Syria is among the most active wars for Islamist fighters it isn’t entirely happenstance that they are choosing to go there. The Syrian government is extremely close allies with Russia, and many of the Chechen fighters are the same ones who resisted the Russian occupation of Chechnya.

The deaths underscore the growing foreign element within the rebellion, something the Assad government has sought to emphasize. At the same time, Assad is relying increasingly on foreign fighters from Hezbollah in battles along the Lebanese border, showing just how regional this war is becoming.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.