The Guardian reports: Abdulvakhid Edelgireyev survived for years hiding in the Chechen mountains, launching attacks on Russian security forces and evading capture. He survived the battlefields of Syria, and those of east Ukraine. But in November his life came to an abrupt end in a flurry of bullets: he was shot dead in broad daylight in Istanbul as he embarked on a shopping trip with his three-year-old niece.
Edelgireyev and his niece walked out of their apartment block in Kayasehir, a far-flung suburb of nondescript new towers, shortly before 2pm on 1 November. The 32-year-old Chechen sat the girl in the passenger seat of his car, and was about to start the engine when a white car rammed into them from behind, closing him in. Pushing his niece on to the floor under the seat, Edelgireyev scrambled out and started running. One of the assassins gave chase, firing at him, and he crumpled to the ground. When paramedics arrived a few minutes later he was already dead, in a pool of blood. He had been shot five times.
The dead man’s biography, as set out by family and associates, paints a picture of a key figure in the Caucasus Emirate, the umbrella group of Chechen and other fighters in Russia’s North Caucasus that has resorted to terrorist methods, including suicide attacks on Moscow’s metro and Domodedovo airport. Edelgireyev’s experiences during his year in Syria also revealed how the Chechen resistance fight has slowly grown links to Islamic State , and the infighting and turmoil among the foreign fighters in Syria. [Continue reading…]