A Swedish Muslim who entered Syria to wage jihad against President Bashir al Assad’s regime was killed while fighting alongside the Muhajireen Brigade (Emigrants Brigade), a group of foreign fighters who are linked to al Qaeda’s affiliate in the country.
The Swede, who was identified by his nom de guerre, Abu Kamal As Swedee, was reported killed in a English-language video martyrdom statement that was posted on jihadist-run Facebook and Twitter pages on March 13. The video was discovered by France 24.
Like many foreign jihadists, Abu Kamal traveled to Turkey before entering Syria. Abu Kamal “joined Jaysh Al Hur [Free Army] known as the Free Syrian Army,” the supposedly secular group that is known to fight alongside al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front. But he became disenchanted with the group as “most of them didn’t pray, listened to music, and smoked cigarettes,” and returned to Turkey to “meet his old friend Abu Sulayman whom he grew up with [sic].”
Abu Kamal and his friend “met some brothers from the Muhajireen Brigade,” includng a “Chechnyan [sic],” or a fighter from the Russian republic of Chechnya, and was convinced that he “felt right at home with the group that consisted of brothers who came to fight for the sake of Allah from around the world.”
The Muhajireen Brigade is commanded by a jihadist from the Russian Caucasus who is known as Abu Omar al Chechen. The Chechen commander was praised by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, a jhadist group that is allied with al Qaeda. Chechen fighters are thought to play a significant role in the Muhajireen Brigade, which has conducted joint operations with the Al Nusrah Front.
Abu Kamal was 22 years old when he was killed by shrapnel from a tank round that was fired by Syrian Army forces. The date or location of his death was not disclosed; the statement merely indicated that he “is buried in the city where he courageously fought.”
A network of Swedish jihadists is known to fight against Assad’s regime inside Syria. In November 2012, a group calling itself the Swedish Holy Warriors in Syria (or Svenska Mujahideen Fi Ash Sham), released a video on Internet video sharing sites such as YouTube and LiveLeak that urged Swedish fighters to join the jihad in Syria and worldwide.
“We are Mujahedeen Fi Ash Sham, and we bear witness that Jihad is mandatory for everyone who believes in Allah, his prophet and judgement day,” the statement said, according to a translation of the video, which was posted on LiveLeak [full video is embedded below].
“Jihad is mandatory in Syria, and in the whole world,” the group continued.
The video and news of Swedish fighters prompted the Syria News, a state-run media outlet, to warn that “Swedish ‘mercenaries will meet a ‘fate darker than the night’ and will be ‘crushed on Syria’s noble ground,” The Local reported late last year.
Sapo, Sweden’s security service, said that Swedish fighters are known to “have travelled to Syria to fight in the civil war but did not say how many have gone,” The Local continued.
Scores of European Muslims are thought to have left their homes to wage jihad in Syria. One of them, Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, a former detainee at the US-run Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, is believed to have been killed while fighting in Syria. European governments have taken little action to prevent Muslims from traveling to Syria to fight as many countries support the opposition to Assad’s regime [see Threat Matrix report, Syrian conflict tests European policy on violent jihad].