Syria Daily: US — We May Have Killed Islamic State Commander Abu Umar

by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – US officials claim that they have “probably” killed a leading Islamic State commander, Abu Umar al-Shishani (Abu Umar the Chechen), in an airstrike inside Syria. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Friday’s strike, with multiple waves of manned and unmanned aircraft, targeted Abu Umar near the town of al-Shaddadi in Hasakeh Proivnce in eastern Syria.

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces captured al-Shaddadi, a key town along Islamic State routes from Iraq to Syria, last month.

Cook said the Pentagon is still assessing the outcome of the strike. Several US officials were optimistic that the attack was successful, though none were prepared to declare certainty that Amu Umar is dead.

One official said initial assessments indicated Abu Umar was likely killed along with 12 Islamic State fighters. An official in the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said it had received information of Abu Umar’s demise but had no details and had been unable to confirm the report.


Originally named Tarkhan Batirashvili, Abu Umar was born in Georgia in 1986. He served in the Georgian army and then spent time in prison before he first appeared in the Syrian conflict as the leader of the faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar. The group fought alongside rebels and the Islamic State when they captured the regime’s Menagh airbase in Aleppo Province in August 2013.

Abu Umar soon led some of JMA’s members in attacks against rebels, including in Atmeh in northwest Syria, and then pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2013. A few months later, as ISIS turned against rebels in a war throughout northern Syria, he was identified as the Islamic State’s “northern emir”.

See Syria Analysis: The “True” Story of Insurgent Leader Abu Umar al-Shishani — & What It Means
Syria Feature: Where In The World Is Abu Umar al-Shishani?

The commander was among jihadists wanted under a US program that offered up to $5 million leading to his capture or death.