Deputy emir of Caucasus Emirate killed in Russian raid

emir-supyan.jpg

Emir Supyan, from the Kavkaz Center website.

Russian commandos killed the Islamic Caucasus Emirate’s second in command during a nighttime raid earlier this week. In addition, a physician known to accompany the terror group’s top leader is said to have also been killed during the raid.

The Islamic Caucasus Emirate confirmed that Emir Supyan, the deputy to Doku Umarov, the leader of the al Qaeda-linked terror group, was killed. Supyan’s death was confirmed in a martydom statement released at Kavkaz Center, a propaganda outlet for the Caucasus Emirate.

While the announcement of Supyan’s death did not explicitly state that he was killed during the Russian raid, the date of his death was listed as March 28, 2011, the same day that Russian commandos stormed a compound in Ingushetia. Seventeen Caucasus Emirate members and three policemen were killed during the clash. Earlier this week, reports speculated that Umarov, Supyan, and Khazmat, the head of the Caucasus Emirate’s suicide squads, were killed during the raid.

Supyan was a longtime jihadist who “went to the Jihad on November 26, 1994.” Kavkaz Center described him as an “experienced teacher, scout and commander” who “trained hundreds of young Mujahideen in warfare, Islam and Jihad.” He led forces against the Russians during both battles for Grozny in the 1990s, in which Russian armored forces and infantry were chewed up in deadly urban fighting.

Supyan also fought with the “Islamic Battalion,” the unit comprised of Arab and other foreign fighters. It is also known as the International Islamic Battalion. The senior leaders of the Islamic Battalion include al Qaeda commander Ibn al Khattab (killed in 2002); Abu al Walid (killed in 2004); Abu Hafs al Urduni (killed in 2006); and Muhannad, the unit’s current commander.

According to Kavkaz Center, Supyan was “the closest companion” to Umarov. It is thought that Umarov and Supyan frequently travel together, and this has fueled speculation that Umarov may also have been killed. But Russian officials have said they have not identified Umarov’s body among those of the 17 people killed during the March 28 raid.

Another jihadist close to Umarov killed during the March 28 raid was Yusup Buzurtanov, who is said to have served as Umarov’s personal physician.

“A bag with medical supplies, including syringes and vials with insulin was found near Buzurtanov’s body,” according to a report in RIA Novosti. Umarov reportedly has diabetes.

Russian security forces have been hunting Umarov and other top leaders of the Caucasus Emirates for years. Umarov and Khazmat have masterminded some of the most deadly terror attacks in Russia and the Caucasus republics. Umarov and Khazmat claimed credit for the deadly Jan. 24, 2011 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people and wounded scores more. Umarov also claimed responsibility for the March 29, 2010 suicide attack by two female bombers that killed 39 people in the Moscow metro.

Several times in the past, Umarov has been rumored to have been killed, but he has later appeared on videotapes to confirm he was alive. [See LWJ reports, US designates Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov a global terrorist, and Caucasus Emirate leader thought killed in raid.]

For more information on the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and its war with Russia, see LWJ report, 35 killed in suicide attack at Moscow airport.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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27 Comments

  • BullsEye says:

    This is a major blow. Yikes, wouldn’t want to be Dokka Umorav now.
    Looks like the Russians are closing in in same way that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Hamza were slowly strangled and then taken out…

  • Soccer says:

    He was a horrible man and I’m glad he’s gone. He made life hell for so many people, and he received the ultimate punishment.
    Umarov will get his, it’s only a matter of time. The special forces raids, air support, and power that the Russian security forces have, it is only a matter of time before he is killed. I doubt someone of his profile would ever be captured.
    His freedom of movement, and the area he lives in, is also probably extremely small. And even in the areas he does live in, he probably has to move around all the time. Russian security forces are relentlessly patrolling those mountains and valleys.
    I remember reading an Asia Times article detailing how Umarov wanted to go to Pakistani FATA so he can be more secure and have a base, untouched. It detailed how reports from his inner circle show that he is under constant stress, and cannot seem to be able to become comfortable in the Caucasus areas.
    Killing the deputy is a big blow and all, but he can be replaced. Killing Umarov would effectively remove and destroy a very ugly, yet very pertinent, vital face to the insurgency and terrorism.

  • kp says:

    I wouldn’t count the chickens just yet but that was a significant attack.

    Umarov is diabetic, eh? I wonder if that gives the Russian Security Services an in to get him by looking for people looking for insulin (or even perhaps finding his supplier). With his doctor taken out that might make life a lot more difficult.

  • jayc says:

    Soccer, it stands to reason that if Umarov’s personal physician was there, could not Doku be somewhere near? Diabetes and stress are very hard on the body.

  • Soccer says:

    I should know, I know many people, including a cousin and a stepfather, who have diabetes. If a physician with vital instruments and materials dies, and if the patient does not get his proper fix eventually, it will soon be lights out for them. I can only guess that it would be worse in Umarov’s case considering I have read that his condition is severe and I could imagine since medical care is so rare in that area, especially for hardcore militants, that the physician that was killed was the best care that Umarov could get and Umarov was used to getting his care, specifically.
    Unless Umarov gets another doctor, and supplies, and fast, he will die.

  • IRONIC says:

    What a slow, sweet death that would be…

  • crusader says:

    soccer:
    how come there are no indications that OBL is under the same stress and have to move around?
    why is he living peacefully?

  • Soccer says:

    “Crusader”, I don’t know. If the CIA has not had good intel on Bin Laden in years, don’t expect me to be able to answer that. One reason, I suspect, is because Bin Laden’s inner circle is ultra secretive about his activities and would never, ever leak them to the press or anybody else.
    //www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MC25Df01.html
    That should somewhat satisfy you regarding Bin Laden and his movements. When I make comments, I am very careful so as to say things that can be backed up with something. He is probably living peacefully because he is holed up somewhere and has a very trusted inner circle. I never say anything without knowing for a fact that I’ve seen or read it somewhere. I would love to answer your question, but I can’t, really. Nobody can.
    Now, since it is rumored that Bin Laden is in Pakistan, you COULD use the theory that the ISI is safely sheltering him. But there is absolutely no evidence to support that assertion.

  • madashell59 says:

    OBL is either in Pakistan or my favorite, Iran.

  • TMP says:

    The idea that Umarov is under more stress than in UBL or Zawahiri really can’t be confirmed. Hell UBL could very well be dead (though, until proof, that can’t be declared…but there is a sizable % within the Hunt that believe that to be the case).
    I do agree that the ISI provides UBL / Zawahiri a level of State sponsored cover (to some extent, indirect, not likely direct) that Umarov does not have the luxury of.
    Nor does Umarov have the luxury of having those hunting for him under constant attack / review from the media. As the United States does. Russia / Putin can pretty much do whatever they deem neccessary in their pursuit. This is not the case for the U.S. And especially was not the case while GWB was President and the media at every turn were looking to hurt the war effort / including the targeting of HVTs. The media were in constant leak mode of any Intel.

  • Soccer says:

    Of course it can’t be completely confirmed, which is why I made that clear when I said it. What I read came from certain figures in his inner circle as well as Russian generals. But he is without a doubt close to death and under a tremendous amount of stress when it comes to the diabetes factor, and the fact that his doctor was found dead with insulin supplies. He is used to getting care from that specific doctor.
    Comparing Umarov to UBL doesn’t seem like a fair comparison, they are worlds apart and while they may share the same ideology, they have no contact with each other and have their own issues to worry about.
    As for UBL being dead, I do not believe he is. Al Qaeda would pounce on the opportunity to score a HUGE propaganda victory announcing his death. They would put over the fact that “God” took his life after years in “jihad” and that the “infidels” could not kill or defeat him or find him. A huge morale boost, that would be.
    Bill has documented how certain jihadis have been seen riding in Pakistani army convoys before. But when it comes to Bin Laden and the ISI, there is no solid, definitive evidence linking the two in collusion. I would like to see such evidence, if it exists, rather than just words and opinion.

  • TMP says:

    Regarding UBL being dead or alive – If dead, he was killed in late 2001. Long ago, and during a time that AQ would not have scored any victories by announcing such – Hell, most of AQ leadership at that point was so scattered and running for their lives most wouldn’t even have known if UBL was killed –
    I’m still under the guise that he is probably alive (as is Zawahiri / Omar). But, I do believe there is also the chance that UBL was killed in late 2001 and possibly confirmed by some within the US Gov’t. At this point and time again, there would have been no propoganda victory by AQ to announce his death…

  • crusader says:

    those others can hide with ease or should i say easier than OBL
    people…OBL is 6.4 feet!! he walks with a cane and has a distinguished nose…
    he could not cover his face and he could not cross dress as a woman since he is too tall…
    wherever he is hiding he will be hiding there for the rest of his life…
    he might be in the far north of pakistan close to china but no one knows…
    we have not heard from him in quite some time now…what is he doing these days?

  • Soccer says:

    //www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5153449n
    TMP may be correct. It’s sort of a “I don’t know, but it’s possible” kind of thing.
    In the interview, Dalton Fury states that at one point, a tall Arab man with army camouflage was seen running into a cave. They called for a JDAM bomb to hit the cave he went into. It was a direct hit, and Al Qaeda fighters retreated after that airstrike. He thinks that Bin Laden was injured in the shoulder from the strike, but was evacuated and taken to a local village where sympathetic villagers patched him up and helped him escape the area.
    This is, of course, possible. Given the fact that he and his special forces team were there, I think it’s best to believe that his account was accurate. Then, after the strike, their Afghan team that was fighting with them turned on them, and their was a multi hour long standoff that gave Al Qaeda and the militants significant time to regroup and escape. The special forces also took casualties from “friendly” fire.
    Dalton then states that after the standoff was over, Al Qaeda regrouped in a way that they were closing in on the special forces. He believes that about 1000 fighters were guarding Bin Laden and if they proceeded over that hilltop, there could have been a massacre. So he decided to pull back, even though he thinks Bin Laden was very well right over that hilltop.
    It’s an interesting video, and I recommend everyone who is a frequent reader of this site, including Bill himself, watches the video. There is also rare, never before seen footage of the battle of Tora Bora. It’s interesting to note that the enemy frequently records attacks these days, but there is no known footage of the Tora Bora battle from the Al Qaeda militant perspective.

  • TMP says:

    If UBL is alive, my best guess would be Pak border regions near China…with a couple back doors into China on short notice…….He is far out of the fight. If audio is to be believed it is clear his couriers take much longer to get to a city than Zawahiri and others…..Which suggest much deeper no-man country.
    If UBL is dead. He died in late 2001 at the hands of the U.S. Most in AQ probably didn’t even know of his death…..Some in the US may have known / maybe not……but by the time AQ was certain of his death….they knew it would serve a better purpose to keep him alive (at that time). Again, AQ announching UBLs death in late 2001 would have not been a propoganda victory at all… Just the opposite.

  • Soccer says:

    When I mentioned a propaganda victory, I meant more in recent time than in 2001. His death would be a huge propaganda victory if it happened, say, a few years ago, to now.
    It would be over the fact that he alluded a word superpower and hundreds of thousands of men and technology and never paid for his crimes with 9/11 and everything else. Also, like I said, they would say “God” took his life in “jihad” and made him a “martyr”.

  • Vito says:

    Yay, sweet vengeance for all perished unprepared and betrayed by its government 18 years old russian conscripts on New Year Eve in 1995 in Grozny at Rail Road Station and City Center that horrible night at hands of Supyan and likes … may he burn in hell incessantly … may G-d send Doku on his way to join Supyan soon

  • crusader says:

    tmp: my guess is about the same, he is living in the far north of pakistan in the remote mountain areas bordering china. if the heat gets near he is running over to china and is untouchable there.
    anyway he has a lot of local protection and spotters that look out for anything suspicious and alert him at once.
    he could be captured or found in just one manner.
    a scorced earth tactic luring him to the chinese border where us special ops troops or just ordinary troops awaits…
    he must be warned that they are after him in the south first…
    of course if he did escape he will stay in china and what could happen then?
    he has been silent so he could be dead or in poor health.

  • crusader says:

    soccer: interesting material…
    however when was he guarded by 1000 fighters was that in the beginning of the war? how many would guard him now? how can he have so many stationed troops around him nowadays?
    would those 1000 be loyal to him and not give up his position?
    how come the us have not payed any local pak shepard or got some real arab looking american spy to go up around the north areas of pakistan near china to search the area for anything suspicious?
    how can the us find no turncoat of all the AQs in the area? how can no local spy be sent up there to investigate?
    this is beyond me…

  • Soccer says:

    “Crusader”, I explained it perfectly well.
    My post was about the Battle Of Tora Bora in 2001. I explained the time when the 1000 fighters were closing in; read the post again.
    You are asking me all these questions and I can’t answer them, nor do I think Bill could either. I don’t know how many troops would be loyal to him now, I read an article last week claiming he has about 350 fighters under his direct command now. All I know is that those 1000 fighters protected him at Tora Bora and Dalton’s account is the most accurate firsthand account so far of that battle.
    As for sending “spies” to Northern Pakistan, people value life over death. They would rather NOT be beheaded, abused, enslaved, or shot dead as so many before them have. Al Qaeda will take out anyone they even SUSPECT is a spy, without proof. So naturally, the CIA, private contractors, intelligence agencies, and individual spies/bounty hunters are extremely hesitant to try out what you recommend.
    If you think it’s such a good idea, maybe you should go up there yourself? Maybe then you’ll see why even the toughest of the special forces are hesitant to go there.

  • LeakOFF says:

    A few interesting pictures from the event
    //www.kavkazcenter.blog.ru

  • crusader says:

    soccer:
    i misunderstood that there were 1000 fighters guarding OBL at tora bora mountains.
    what you are saying is that it was a one time chance to capture or kill him at that point…now it is too late?
    what is the meaning of the war then? are the u.s troops fighting the talibans just one islamic faction that hosted him in the muslim world?
    he is now hiding in the mountains in china and is untouchable because of paranoid security?
    you ask me if i would go up there as a spy?
    well i am an older caucasian male…what good would i do there? they would waste me in a matter of minutes…it would not be love at first sight…it would be murdered at first sight…
    are there not any other methods if now spies are out of the question?
    what about sniper teams? spy drones? predator or reaper UAVs?
    shepherds or locals in general DO NOT carry ak47s around with them…if you find an area with those people around you are sure you are closer to OBL.
    what can i do except giving advice? ic ould not have done a better job than is already done…
    i would suggest searching further north from north waziristan…
    i am certain OBL is hiding further to the north…it is a very good guess.
    if the heat comes near he will flee into china of course…
    a second chance to capture the monstrosity when the tora bora capture was unsuccessful…

  • Soccer says:

    You’re a Caucasian male. Well, my point is that maybe YOU should go up there yourself instead of dictating that other people should go there. If you’re going to rule out the possibility that you will go there, stop pressing for others to do the same.
    To avoid further confusion, I recommend you actually WATCH the video I posted.
    Here is a link that will satisfy your “North Pakistan-China” conspiracies.
    //robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/osama-bin-laden-on-top-of-the-world/
    I don’t mean to come off as rude, but this discussion is beating a dead horse at this point and I feel I have nothing left to say to you.

  • TMP says:

    @Soccer – I will tell you this, SOF WANT inside Pak – They WANT…They have BEGGED for more DA Ops in these regions – They are NOT hesitent in the least with regard to the risks involved. It is their HQs (and higher up HQs) that are risk adverse. All the way through State Dept putting pressure back on CinC/SecDef (of both the last 2 Administrations).
    But one thing is very clear. The shooters throughout SOF would love more DA Ops within Pak border regions. These should have been happening since 2002. Yet, we can change time and go back….. We have to deal with where we are now. And for the most part from 2001-2008 AQ got its ass handed to them like they never thought possible (including the Taliban). AQ has lost over 3/4+ of its original leadership. Thousands more of their mid-level experience fighters. They have been replaced by those less effective….
    They have watched quasi freedom take roots in both Stan and Iraq (the heart of the ME). This is the last thing they ever wanted. They have been forced to begging Pastun-hillbilies for their safety.
    But outside of that, Zawahiri and UBL (if alive) along with Hek Gulb would all be dead right now if we allowed our shooters to gather their OWN Intel, run their own Intel Ops and conduct more DA raids throughout Pak border regions.

  • crusader says:

    tmp: can you explain this part more clearly
    “I will tell you this, SOF WANT inside Pak – They WANT…They have BEGGED for more DA Ops in these regions – They are NOT hesitent in the least with regard to the risks involved. It is their HQs (and higher up HQs) that are risk adverse. All the way through State Dept putting pressure back on CinC/SecDef (of both the last 2 Administrations).”

  • crusader says:

    soccer:
    i read the link
    my guess is that is up in the far north of pakistan close to china…
    as it says in the article…there are almost no good maps of the area…it is indeed a safe haven.
    i wont go there and neither would anybody else so he will live up there peacefully…

  • Faluoghi says:

    thanks for that link soccer. i just read it and i happen to have travelled all through there in 2005. i took a quote from the article –
    “When Frontline traveled through the Lowarai Pass between Dir and Drosh, they looked in the guestbook and noted that only two Americans had been there since 9-11, a period of almost a year. The soldier manning the post joked and said that one of the two Americans was a spy.”
    i was there (i’m American too) in 2005! who knows who was around???

Iraq

Islamic state

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Al shabaab

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