Since the beginning of the year, about 50 residents of Chechnya who were trying to join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have been identified and detained, according to a source in Chechnya’s Centre for Countering Extremism at Chechnya’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, quoted by Russian state-run broadcaster Russia Today.
The source told Russia Today that more than 700 Chechens have joined militants in Syria and Iraq, and at least 500 are still actively involved in the fighting.
They noted the importance of countering online propaganda and identifying Islamists who have fallen under the influence of the ideology of the ‘green revolution’. The Centre conducts the majority of its work online, under fictitious names in social networks, they continued.
‘We find accounts in instant messengers and social networks. By the method of personal investigation, an employee [of the Centre] communicates with people, establishes trust with them, and sometimes after half a year or even a year penetrates the sleeper cells’, the source told Russia Today.