Turkish officials have discovered evidence that the suicide bombers at the Istanbul airport earlier this week came from the Syrian ISIS stronghold of Raqqa and that Islamic State leaders likely planned the attack, a senior Turkish government source told CNN on Thursday. The men have been identified as being from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, former Soviet countries whose fighters tend to be very tough in ISIS ranks.
The attackers entered Turkey about one month ago, coming from Raqqa and bringing their suicide vests and bombs with them. This led Turkish officials to insist that the attackers are connected to the Islamic State.
The attack was “extremely well planned with ISIS leadership involved,” CNN’s Turkish source said. Michael Weiss, author of ISIS: Inside The Army of Terror, said the nationalities of the attackers bolstered the claim of Islamic State involvement.
“One of the toughest battalions in ISIS is called the Uzbek battalion,” Weiss explained. “These were the guys who were essentially on the front lines guarding Falluja [sic], the city they just lost in Iraq.”
“Ask anybody inside ISIS or who’s fought ISIS. People from the former Soviet Union tend to be the most battle-hardened and willing to die.”
It may be ironic that former Soviet countries — which fought Afghanistan in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s — would provide the manpower for the Islamic State. Nevertheless, the totalitarian semi-religious ideology of Communism may translate well into the kind of Sharia-supremacist radical Islamic terror fueling ISIS.
Many Soviet fighters were pressed into service and were not true believers in Communism. It would be interesting to see if the ISIS militants from those countries come from a pro-Communist background.