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U.S. Puts Georgian National on Terrorism Sanctions List
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Sep.'14 / 16:17

The U.S. placed on September 24 a Syria-based Georgian national among 21 individuals in “specially designated global terrorists” list, freezing their assets and prohibiting Americans from having any commercial transactions with them.

Tarkhan Batirashvili, 28, who is known as Omar al-Shishani and is native of Birkiani village in Georgia’s Pankisi gorge, is one of the senior Islamic State military commanders.

Batirashvili, who according to his own account arrived in Syria in March 2012, has held since then “a number of top military positions within ISIL and has led a number of attacks,” the U.S. Treasury Department said on September 24.

“As of mid-2014, Batirashvili was a senior ISIL commander and Shura Council member located in al-Raqqah, Syria,” the Treasury Department said. “Batirashvili oversaw an ISIL prison facility in al-Tabqa, close to al-Raqqah, where ISIL possibly held foreign hostages.  As of mid-2014, Batirashvili also coordinated closely with ISIL‘s financial section and had a base of operations for the terrorist organization in the Minbij, Syria area.

There are reports that Batirashvili is not the only Georgian national fighting in Syria. According to a local news agency in Kakheti region, where Pankisi gorge is located, there are about 50 individuals from Pankisi gorge fighting in Syria. News agency, Information Center of Kakheti (ICK), reported on September 25 about death of an 18-year-old native of Omalo village of Pankisi gorge while fighting in Syria; ICK said that the report was confirmed by relatives of the young man.

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