The majority of Chechens fighting in Syria have been killed, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency, published Friday.
Syrian rebels used natives of the Russian republic of Chechnya as “cannon fodder,” Kadyrov said. “There are about 200 of our Chechens left. They traveled to Syria from Europe — gangs of around 20-30 people,” he said, RIA Novosti reported.
Very few Chechen citizens have left to fight abroad because the local security service is able to “control” them, Kadyrov said.
In November 2015, Kadyrov said that about 500 Chechens had traveled to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State — 200 of whom had already been killed.
Kadyrov added that government agents had “brought back” 47 Chechen men believed to have been drafted into IS “by means of deception,” RIA Novosti reported.
In total, almost 650 criminal cases were being investigated in Russia against Russians fighting for the Islamic State, according to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, RIA Novosti reported on Nov. 10, 2015.
Islamic State is a terrorist group banned in Russia.