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Three Natives of Georgian Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge Die in Syria

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 5
Pankisi locals in eastern Georgia have confirmed the death of natives of their village in Syria.

Three members of a family have reportedly been killed.

The news about the death of 34-year-old Aghazha Borchashvili, her husband 35-year-old Kakha Tokhoshashvili and their eight-year-old child came about a year ago, but the information was denied later.

Reportedly, Kakha Tokhoshashvili was fighting for the “Islamic State” terrorist group in Syria and the death was confirmed on late Wednesday.

Based on unofficial information at least 30 natives of Pankisi gorge have died fighting in Syria.

The Pankisi Gorge is a valley mainly inhabited by the Kist sub-ethnos in northeastern Georgia that borders the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation.

High unemployment and a lack of opportunities were believed to be the reasons why many people left the Gorge - the area that once sheltered rebels from the Russians during the Chechen wars.

In 2015 the Georgian Government pledged to better living conditions in the Gorge so that locals will not leave the area.

In 2016 then Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli arrived in the gorge, provided Pankisi locals with the information about how to join the Georgian Armed Forces on a contract-based military service and how to make a successful military career.

She offered locals to sign a four-year contract with the Defence Ministry. Contractor's approximate salary would be 955 GEL monthly, which would increase according to rank, position and military experience.