Hamza Shishani (center) is pictured with an alleged Russian bulletproof vest.
Ajnad Kavkaz, or Soldiers of the Caucasus, has released a short video claiming to show gear its fighters captured from Russian forces in Syria’s coastal Latakia province. The group is predominately comprised of Chechens and other jihadists from the North Caucasus.
The video, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, shows Hamza Shishani, Ajnad Kavkaz’s military emir, speaking to the camera. A militant to his right holds an alleged Russian bulletproof vest. “We were on the plains [likely referring to the Al Ghab plain near Latakia], when we found out that here in Latakia there was an operation,” Shishani says. “We arrived after we found out that Russians were attacking here and captured a hill. Praise be to Allah, the hill was taken back.”
Shishani also claims that the Russians retreated from the fighting, leaving behind weapons and gear. “Having thrown away their bulletproof vest and machine gun here,” Shishani says, “the Russians ran away.”
The image below shows Shishani holding the machine gun purportedly left behind by Russian forces: