Pro-Kremlin Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has claimed spies from his region of Russia are being sent to infiltrate the Islamic State group (ISIS or IS) and assist Moscow in its bombing campaign in Syria.
Kadyrov, who has led the North Caucasus region of Chechnya since 2007, made the claims in a preview of a documentary set to air on state television on Wednesday.
The documentary claims that “agents from special forces from Chechnya were embedded” in ISIS training camps to collect intelligence and help identify targets for Russian air strikes.
Quoting Kadyrov, it said that the “best fighters” from mostly Muslim Chechnya have managed to create an “intricate agent network directly inside IS,” although some have been killed.
“We unfortunately have had some losses,” Kadyrov said in an interview in the documentary.
“But they knew where they were going, what they were getting involved in. They went there so we can live peacefully in Chechnya and all over Russia.”
The preview showed Kadyrov at a training camp in Chechnya where heavily-armed men were shooting at targets and completing obstacle courses.
Chechen agents in ISIS “gather information about the structure and numbers of the terrorists and set targets for bombings,” the documentary claimed.
There was no way to immediately verify Kadyrov’s claims. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruled out a ground operation in Syria.
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