In a new video released by the al Qaeda-linked Uighur jihadist group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a large convoy of its fighters and equipment is shown parading somewhere in northwestern Syria.
The caravan is shown in several scenes in the TIP’s newly released “Truth About Chinese Media 3,” a video largely dedicated to deriding Chinese media and its portrayal of Uighurs. Dozens of vehicles, including pickup trucks loaded with fighters or anti-aircraft weapons, transport vehicles, heavy armor, and many other varieties, are shown driving in Syria’s northwestern countryside. It is unclear exactly where the convoy was, but the TIP is known to operate in Idlib, Latakia, and Hama provinces.
Other scenes are archival footage of battles, suicide bombings conducted by the group, or random images of its fighters on the frontlines. It is unknown when the caravan videotape was filmed, but it is likely older footage. However, the film has never been seen in prior video released by the group and offers a good look into the TIP’s strength, size, and importance on the battlefield.
The TIP has operated alongside al Qaeda’s forces in Syria since 2012 when it first declared a presence in the civil war. It has fought in battles in Hasakah, Idlib, Aleppo, Latakia, and Hama provinces. It is heavily integrated on the battlefield and has conducted at least 12 suicide bombings in support of various operations. It likely has thousands of members in Syria.
The Turkistan Islamic Party also operates in China as well as both Central and South Asia and is believed to have scores of fighters and its leadership located throughout Pakistan’s tribal areas and Afghanistan. The TIP is largely made up of ethnic Uighurs and fights with the aim of creating an Islamic state in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Its leaders and fighters have been killed by Coalition forces in Afghanistanand by US drone strikes in Pakistan. Several of TIP’s senior leaders have also been appointed to top positions in al Qaeda’s network in Pakistan.
Source: Long War Journal