“No ideas, just money»
The correspondent of “Kommersant” Alexander Larintsev met with doctor Umar Magomedov, providing medical assistance to the militants of banned terrorist organization ISIS. He went to help the wounded militants, however, quickly realized that ISIS exists not for the sake of high purposes. Disillusioned, he sold his machine, in order to raise money to return home. For trying to escape in Syria, he was punished by public whipping, and Russia condemned for terrorist activities.
“I listened, listened and ripe»
In 2013, studying at the Stavropol medical Academy, I seriously became interested in Islam. Converged close first year student from Dagestan, and already through it with their classmates in med school (in the case of involvement in terrorist activities were convicted of several students.— “Kommersant”). First, talking about religion. Then the rollers started to look about the war in Syria. In the video, people complained about how hard it is, how many people dies due to the fact that there is nobody to stop the blood medical not. Discussed all this. I listened, listened and ripe…
— As a family reacted to your decision?
— And I will not talk about it. We with Shamil was talking on the phone, on the Internet contact, and then bought plane tickets to Istanbul. There have been, you might say, led. In Istanbul for three days lived in a private apartment. There are wounded fighters were, one without arms the other without eyes. They recover there, apparently. Well, as I understand it, gathered new recruits. To us two more children were added — one from Dagestan, one from Chechnya.
— Crossed the border without problems?
— We were taken to the bus station, put him on a bus to Gaziantep, and there already waited a Chechen. I remembered the wound on his face. He sent us to the hotel and told to wait. We took a minivan with an Arab and a Turk. Outside of town we have planted six others. In this part reached some villages, where we waited for the conductor. With him we walk and crossed the border. On the other side was waiting for the bus that took us to the town of Jerablus. There was a transshipment point “Madia”. Such a large area, fenced and inside the building type dormitories. Beyond the perimeter were forbidden to leave, he was constantly guarded by five or six armed militants. Yes, at first, to leave no one tried.
— Many people were in that paragraph?
— 300-400 people of different nationalities. Women and men lived separately, even if they were family. We all took away all documents and phones. Some Arabs interviewed were asked about the purpose of their visit, who can vouch for you. All entered in the notebook. Behaved politely asked not to take offense, saying that this test is a mere formality. Nobody, of course, were not warned that their documents we will not see and go will be impossible. Such a one-way ticket.
— Everyone who came, succumbed to the calls on the Internet?
— Mostly Yes. There propaganda was serious. Already in place, when it lived, people met, learned that to do this, the IG (prohibited by the legislation of the Russian Federation.— “Kommersant”) was a special unit. They are based in raqqa and Tabka. They have the financing it is, your States, your media. The task before them was one with only agitation and recruitment. Their units they had in Turkey, Europe, and Russia. And those who are inside, in Syria — as the war correspondents worked: to leave, to remove, mount. Friends who worked there told me that they have the experts was that almost in Hollywood studied, because I could these montages to do that in the movies rarely — to videos were spectacular. And transfers did to him in Russian, French, German, even Chinese translating, adapting to the audience. They have a very wide geography of agitation was.
— How many took the test?
— For ten days. It was possible and faster to check, but we waited for the queue to go to the “muaskar” — this is a training camp for new recruits. All the men then moved to a camp near Raqqa near the hydropower plant on the Euphrates river. Amir “mascara”, it was called “Taube” was the Jordanian Abu Gharib of Urduni. In total there were about 500 people. The first two weeks we were taught the Islamic rules of how to do prayer and ablution. In essence told me things they already knew. Hardly, there are people who do not know how to pray. Maybe it was adapting in order for people to get used to all go in uniform.
— Where people were in that camp?
In my thread there were a lot of Arabs from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia. From speaking especially many Chechens, Dagestanis and Kazakhs. Two weeks later we were seated at different buses and taken to another camp between Raqqa and Sadddam. There a few days came the members of the “Kazakh Jamaat,” of the battalion “khaybar”, took me and five others and taken to their headquarters in Raqqa. She was in the building of the former hotel. Amir Jamaat named Daut explained to us that each should be assigned to some cell of the IG, and we are now members of the “Kazakh Jamaat”. The main base of “Jamaat” was in the city of Shaddad. Right beside it was another military “muaskar”. His “Amir” was also the Kazakh nicknamed Khattab was wounded in the leg. He is in camp is rare, and training recruits three people were involved: Kazakh Abu-Umar, Kirghiz and Uzbek Abdullah Usman.
— Everyone is responsible for its direction. The Kazakh physical training, Uzbek taught the use of weapons, and the Kirghiz — theory. By the way, many believed that the preparation was there for almost a tick, almost like we were in school for safety: to wear a mask — to remove, machine to assemble — disassemble. Maybe it’s because for physicians “Commissar” was not the main course.
“With medicine there’s just a desperate situation»
Since I had a medical education, I was assigned to the infirmary in Sadade. I think that “Kazakh Jamaat” I was assigned because in this town with medicine just a desperate situation. Experts who worked before the war, had left. In the hospital, though she was equipped with decent equipment, no people that it could work. The hospital staff consisted mainly of Arabs who arrived from Egypt and Tunisia. To understand what I say, I started to learn Arabic.
In the hospital I was assigned to the emergency Department. To insurgents and wounded were brought, and the civilian population came up. Still on the list, which I gave, went on calls to easily wounded.
— It was all on a voluntary basis?
Not if you’re assigned to “Jamaat”, then you pay 100 dollars a month and food $ 40. Winter could still give clothes and heaters.
— And this is enough?
— Housing was free. It provided anyone who came to the IG. If something is not arranged, it was possible to occupy any house which the local left, fleeing. The products were inexpensive. Feast, of course, did not, but could live. However, the salary of all time reduced and in 2016 reached $ 50.
— In social networks there was information about the theft in the battalion “khaybar” to which you were assigned…
— I also heard talk that the warlords have written off the “Jamaat” a lot of money. Like on the local salary for their work, but the money to ordinary people is not exactly reached.
— Within the is some entertainment was?
— In Syria with entertainment of sorrow. But in Iraq’s Mosul, which was also under the control of the IG, it was possible to go to the pool, amusement Park, go to the river, sights to see. In Iraq in General, the infrastructure is much better, roads and hospitals. There is richer lived.
— They say that in Laddade was a market where women are sold?
— Yes, there was such a market. There brought women mostly of Kurdish origin and sold them. The price depended on the appearance and age. Young and beautiful assorted heads of ISIS, and the rest of battered women, over forty. They were good only as maids around the house. Personally seen these “maids” in the homes of some members of the IG.
— In General what life was?
— Unpredictably. At me there, by the way, I watched as a dinosaur to survive the year and especially two — for those places a lot. On average, after taking office, the people there live two or three months, well, six months. There do not know not what may happen tomorrow, and an hour later. You can at the hospital today to work in one city, tomorrow in another specialty are and change because your new city has other flags hanging. Is the only way to escape.
— Other flag? Whose?
‘There’s a lot of groups! I talked with a local, they told me that they are on the family principle gather 10-15 people and a separate group that is ready to fight. I asked them what you all are fighting, what’s the point? I explained that in another there is simply not survive. When everything with guns running around, can run into any house, to kill, to take all things remains his own arm. In General, you or you. I then with the other hand to look at it. In the video, which I sent, they say: we are suffering, come and help. They are a people really free and at any time could go to Turkey, for example. It is us who are from abroad came to them, it was hard to go back, because we checked, was not allowed and was punished for it.
— Across the border, of course, difficult to move, and from city to city?
For this it was necessary to write “Ejaz” — permission to travel and movement. In this paper necessarily mentioned where you’re going, for how long, who gave you permission with his signature and seal. Tested it on all posts.
— And there were many posts?
Mainly at the entrances and exits of the cities and on the highways, too, were checked, the searches did. All the time were on guard, to someone not to miss. And already in 2016 have paranoia began. Each man saw the spy. Yeah, to be honest, full of trust in us had never been. This presumption of guilt: you’re guilty until we know you’re innocent. Well, plus or minus one person role plays for them, human life is very cheap they think.
— That is among my all-time spies tried to identify?
— Essentially, Yes. When you get there, just feel like I turn on the filter, which can not stop working. And you’re constantly under surveillance. For example, you go to the Internet cafe, sitting, not bothering anyone. And at this moment there snaps people in masks, pull all of hand phones and start to check: who texting, what websites you go. At home because the Internet can not keep. If you see the “plate”, immediately the questions begin to ask: how do you use the Internet, why secretly set this up? If just with family to talk, you’re not going home at the Internet to hide? That kind of logic they had. The commanders had free access to the Internet.
“If you don’t confess, we will kill you…»
— What was with accused of espionage?
— Public execution. Person could shoot or cut off the head and then the body was still hanging a few days with a sign, such as “enemy of the people”. When the bombing started, the bodies wrote that they are to blame that gave the coordinates and target enemies. How soundly it is hard to say. Such penalty is a kind of propaganda move as intimidating as a warning to others — supposedly a man, which others died, justly punished. Many believed it. It was only later I realized that to believe everything that the militants saying you can’t, because I am in their prison; I saw that you just knock readings, I saw people who really didn’t do anything, could not stand torture, confessed, and was executed, too.
— How did you get in jail?
It’s a long story. In 2015 we Laddade met brother. He and other recruits had to go to Mosul. Then when we met again he said he organizes the trip home to Russia. But all the time worked. Corridors that Turkey has ceased to work. That is, to go to war in Syria or Iraq through Turkey was still possible, and to go back — no. By the end of February 2016, when the Kurds launched an offensive on Shaddad and told us that have to fight everyone, including the doctors, I practically ran out of there. Lived for two months at the border of Syria and Iraq in a small town. Then from Mosul came brother with a guy from Dagestan. Waited for a visual signal from a common friend, a native of Karachay-Cherkessia, which was to negotiate the transition through the Turkish border. Contacted on WhatsApp, but to leave could not. Already there was fighting in the border. Then we moved to Raqqa. Lived there for about a month at the hotel. Sometimes went to the city. In the end we were stopped by local police “sorta” to check the documents. Of course, immediately popped out at me that I have a lot of time don’t work in a hospital, anywhere. And the questions started: how did you get the money to live. After that we and sent to prison to local security forces “, amniyat”.
What you really been living?
— Machine sold. There is a weapon to sell no problem. Good Russian gun there then was worth $ 500-600. Those who are versed in arms, saying that it’s cheap, but not much bargain.
— Who in prison were engaged in the inquiry, the Arabs?
— No, there was Russian-speaking. However, their interrogation I saw. They were constantly wearing masks, no names, no faces. In prison you lose the notion of time, with anyone and no one knows where you are. Just one day gone and all. There you don’t even say when the court. But almost every day they say they will kill you one hundred percent, therefore, confess, help the investigation and will avoid the plight. Someone who is weaker, have promised to release after recognizing someone for the recognition promised to torture will not. I always said that paper has come to execution, so there’s no point in denying it. In General, nothing is proven, but for the fact that we wanted to go to Russia, me and my brother have appointed 300 and 250 lashes.
— Judged by Sharia law?
— It was said that the Sharia judge. But actually it was a set of laws, some of which were taken from the Shariah law, and the other part is that they were invented by judges.
— How much time came after the execution?
— Two months. Then my brother sent a “muaskar” in HOMS province. It’s the middle of the desert is a huge bunker, which had a hundred people, mostly people like us, sent here for “re-education”. I, at least, realized that about 70-80 people from those who were there, also tried to return home through the Turkish border. For offenders were complex educational interventions: for example, to drag from place to place stones. Night sleep is not allowed, forced to run out into the street, doused with water, forced to crawl. Then more months, we were in the desert somewhere on the border of the province of HOMS, and then we withdrew in Raqqa. All again distributed to different cells of the IG. The brother then contacted a fellow countryman, and he told me how to get to the province of Deir ez-Zor. There we have surrendered to government forces. Somewhere seven months until the check was carried out, again in prison. Because in fighting we are not directly involved, were granted Amnesty by the government of Syria. Us from Damascus was sent by plane to Moscow.
At first glance, they were all there in one great idea of an “Islamic Caliphate”, but if you dig a little, every person had their own story why he was there. Someone really was ideological, from those who want to take over the world. Local Syrians only wanted Syria to seize and the power to change. Some Syrians said they want other laws, and other laws like them, just let Bashar al-Assad will not. There were those local, who just wanted money. Their America or Turkey sponsored. And of those who came from other countries, too, are all very different: part ideological, which led to believe that Jihad is war for the faith, although in reality, Jihad is hard work, not war. Someone has problems with the law was… So what ISIS is fighting, and said, it is unclear how to formulate.
— You made conclusions?
— If you just want a short answer, I’m not happy that you went there. It was a stupid and hasty decisions. There is nothing at all in order for this to go. No ideas, just money that someone will receive and you will pay for it with his life.