Muslim Abu Walid al Shishani
Place of Birth: Georgia;
Murad Iraklievich Margoshvili, also known by his nom de guerre Muslim Abu Walid al Shishani (taken from the Saudi fighter Abu al-Walid), is the commander of Junud al-Sham in Syria.
Al Shishani was sanctioned by the US State Department on 24 September 2014 for reportedly building a base for foreign fighters. While Margoshvili is a Georgian national, he is also a Kist, a Chechen subethnos living mostly in the Pankisi Gorge.
Muslim (who has been named as Muslim Margoshvili) has been in Syria since 2012 and has always remained independent of any other Chechen faction, preferring to lead his own group, and fight alongside Syrian Islamic brigades. He has refused to join the Islamic State, and has criticized that group and the attitudes of some foreign fighters, as we shall see below.
Muslim Shishani has until recently enjoyed a rather professional public relations service by a group of German-speaking “media mujahideen”, who created a website (shamcenter.info) and various other social media pages for the jihadi.
Muslim served in the air defense forces in Mongolia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he returned to Chechnya. In 1995 he joined the militia of al-Khattab, which consisted of foreign (mostly Arab) Mujahideen.
He has worked with many of the leaders of the Arab- Chechen divisions, including Abu Jafar and Abu al- Walid, the successor to Ibn Khattab. Eventually, Muslim was promoted to a command position – Emir of Vedeno.
In 2002, Abu Walid sent Muslim to organize a new front in the Sunzha district, where the video claims he had a lot of fighters under his command.
In 2003, Muslim was captured by Russian forces, and held in a Russian prison for two and a half years. After his release he went to Georgia for treatment. In 2008, after he recovered, Muslim organized a new group of militants in Dagestan.
In Syria, Muslim gathered a group of mostly Chechen fighters and was a close companion of Sayfullakh Shishani.
In August 2013, he and his faction took part in the Latakia offensive and claimed credit for capturing a number of hilltop villages, notably Durin. Muslim gained the nickname “Sopka Durin” (“Durin hilltop” in Russian) for his feats.
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