Legislators in Georgia are amending laws designed to hinder Georgian citizens from joining militant groups fighting in Syria. Despite the recent step, some critics contend the government could do more to address the issue.
Georgian citizens seeking to join Islamic State tend to use Turkey as a transit country to reach Syria. No one can say for sure how many Georgians are actively engaged in Syria’s four-year-long civil war, but with Georgia expected to open a training center for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by this fall, the issue of border security is taking on an increasingly high profile.
To date, an estimated 12 Georgians have died fighting for ISIS in Syria; the latest, 33-year-old Ibrahim Tsatiashvili, was reportedly killed in action in May. Meanwhile, media reports of women allegedly traveling to marry fighters or live in ISIS-controlled territory have surfaced in recent weeks.
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Paul Rimple is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.