The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 12
33rd ISIS fighter from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge dead in the Syrian war

A man from Pankisi valley in Georgia has been killed in Syria. Ruslan Tokhosashvili, 35, was the 33rd Kist militant from Pankisi killed in Syria, local-based radio station, Radioway, reports.

Tokhosashvili reportedly left his native village of Birkiani for Syria in 2014 and joined the terror group 'Islamic State'. Birkiani is the home village of Tarkhan Batirashvili, better known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, former chief commander of ISIS forces in Syria who was killed in 2016. Tokhosashvili was said to be a close ally of Batirashvili.

Tokhosashvili’s wife and children reportedly live in Strasbourg, France. The details of his death are not clear.

Tokhosashvili’s brothers Kakha and Bekhan (Beka) were also killed in Syria in 2018 and 2015, respectively. It was reported that Kakha Tokhosashvili was killed during aerial bombardment with his wife and eight children.

The exact number of Georgian nationals fighting in Syria is not clear, but estimates vary between 100 and 300. Most of them are Kists, a small subgroup of Chechens who are natives of Pankisi Gorge, eastern Georgia.

Also, several men from other parts of Georgia have reportedly been killed fighting in the Middle East, including five ethnic Azerbaijani from Kvemo Kartli and four ethnic Georgians from Ajara, western Georgia, Tbilisi-based expert Mamuka Areshidze and head of the think tank Caucasus Strategic Studies Center said, as quoted by Rezonansi newspaper.

Areshidze said the flow of Georgian militants to the Middle East has dwindled sharply as ISIS has suffered major defeats at the hands of Western-backed forces and the Syrian army. Some of them have given up arms and moved to other countries, like Saudi Arabia and other predominantly Islamic states.
(DF watch)

A new 7-year, $32 mln programme to help prevent natural disasters in Georgia

Georgia is starting a new seven-year programme worth $32 million that will help the country to prevent natural disasters.

The project will first be launched in Georgia’s Adjara region where geological and hydrological maps of high precision will be made. The project will then, step-by-step, cover all the regions of Georgia where early warning systems will be installed.

The goal of the project is to prevent or mitigate possible negative consequences caused by natural disasters in the country.

Early warning systems are already installed in the basin of the River Vere in the capital of Tbilisi and in the Devdoraki Gorge in northern Georgia.

Green Climate Fund, a financial mechanism under the UNFCCC, offered $27 million while the Swiss government allocated $5 million for the programme.

The deputy minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture Nino Tandilashvili said that such scale project had never been implemented in Georgia in terms of preventing the climatic threats.

If it will be successfully implemented about 1.4 million people will be better protected from natural disasters which in the spring and summer seasons are quite frequent. It is important to have a risk prevention system in the country. "Unfortunately, today we react to a disaster only after it happens", said Tandilashvili.

She also said that during these seven years, a new generation of geologists, hydrologists, and meteorologists will be trained and for this reason cooperation with Georgian higher education institutions is planned.