Terrorists Behind Istanbul Attack – From Russia’s North Caucasus Region. Is this just the beginning?
Foreign Policy reports that the attacks at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport reveals a significant change in tactics from other attacks by ISIS around Europe. How? Instead of just traveling through Turkey to get to Syria and fight with ISIS, the Russian ISIS members stopped to conduct terror attacks there.
“As the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.” CIA Director John Brennan
Expect more attacks
According to a report from CNN,
Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu has identified two of the three bombers who killed themselves at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport. Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov carried out suicide bombings at the airport, Anadolu reported, citing an anonymous prosecution source. The report did not identify the third attacker.
The organizer of the Istanbul airport massacre is a well-known terrorist from Russia’s North Caucasus region who served as a top soldier in the ISIS war ministry, a U.S. official said.
Akhmed Chatayev is the man who directed the three suicide bombers in the attacks that killed 43 people Tuesday, said Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Turkish media reported that a man nicknamed “Akhmed One-Arm” organized the attack.
While his whereabouts are unclear, his ties to jihadist activities are well documented, McCaul said.
“He’s … probably the No. 1 enemy in the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. He’s traveled to Syria on many occasions and became one of the top lieutenants for the minister of war for ISIS operations.” Rep Michael McCaul
Muslim Region of Russia
The North Caucasus region of Russia is home to a predominantly Muslim population. Dagistan, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, etc are hot spots and have been thorn in the side of Russia for decades. Vladimir Putin stated last October that they believe 5,000 to 7,000 fighters from the region have gone to Syria to fight with ISIS.
In the small republics around the former Soviet bloc, military service is mandatory. That simply means that ISIS doesn’t have to provide basic training for those recruits- they have a “life long exposure to AK-47s.”
Foreign Policy reported,
Turkey remains a major destination for Central Asian students, laborers, and tourists and citizens from the region — who are able to travel there without a visa. And with its porous border to Syria, Turkey has emerged as the main transit point for foreign fighters from Central Asia and other former Soviet states en route to join the Islamic State there.
It appears they are no longer just a transit point. With large populations of Central Asian people in Turkey, they have a ready-made place to disappear.
Transformed into a destination
It is as yet unclear if the terrorists were actually directed by ISIS to attack teh airport, or whether they came up with the plan on their own.
As ISIS has been reportedly “shrinking” in its “caliphate,” it’s reach to world wide jihadists appears to be widening. Turkey is no longer just a thoroughfare for Russian jihadists, it’s a stopping point.