Pro-Islamist protesters shout slogans against the Russian government during a demonstration following the death of North Caucasus rebel leader Doku Umarov, at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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While Russian President Vladimir Putin's air campaign in Syria may have other aims, one result seems to be that it is hitting Islamists from Russia's Caucasus, say analysts.The presence of Islamists from the Caucasus is not the decisive factor for unleashing Russia's military might, said Syria specialist Thomas Pierret from the University of Edinburgh.Fighters originating from the Caucasus are believed to have first appeared in Syria in summer 2012, notably at the battle of Aleppo.These are the northwestern regions of Syria where Russia's campaign has been concentrated since being launched on September 30 .Islamists in the Caucasus have in recent years pledged allegiance en masse to ISIS, and the group has created a protectorate in the region, though a drop in suicide bombings since 2013 inside Russia indicates that many have left for Syria or Iraq.A video circulated via Russian Islamist websites over the weekend purported to show Chechen fighters calling on Caucasus natives to come back home to wage holy war.
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