MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti) - Iraq’s Defense Ministry has posted an image on its Facebook page, showing a man it claims to be a Chinese extremist fighter, Iraqi News reported.
On Monday, the Iraqi Defense Ministry released a photo of an Asian male with a blood-stained face, who was taken captive. The image shows the man wearing an armband with white Arabic letters on a black background translated as “Chinese ISIS,” the Iraqi News reported Wednesday. The ministry has not yet published any solid evidence of the man’s Chinese nationality.
Both Chinese sources and high-profile jihadists previously confirmed that individuals from China are fighting in Syria and Iraq. Yin Gang, a West Asia expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Studies, told South China Morning Post on Wednesday that hundreds of Chinese nationals have joined the Islamic State (IS).
The leader of the IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also mentioned the Chinese among the foreign members of his jihadist organization during his speech marking the beginning of Ramadan, the SITE Intelligence Group reported in July. Al-Baghdadi also referred to the infringement of “Muslims’ rights,” by the Chinese government.
On Wednesday, al-Qaeda, the parent organization of the IS, which later cut ties with it, released a video showing the organization’s head, Ayman al-Zawahiri declaring the establishment of an al-Qaeda branch in the Indian subcontinent. Earlier in August, the Indian media reported that four Indian nationals joined the IS.
The IS jihadist group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012 and started seizing vast territories in Iraq in 2014, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on its controlled areas in June.
ISIS is known for recruiting fighters from all over the world. In late August, the US State Department said some 12,000 foreigners from about 50 nations joined anti-government extremist groups in Syria, with IS being one of the principal recruiters.