The messenger logo

BBC reports Georgian IS leader Shishani dead

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 16
The BBC has reported that based on Pentagon that a Georgian-born field commander of the Islamic State (ISIS), Tarkhan Batirashvili, alias Omar Shishani, has died after sustaining wounds in US air strikes in Syria.

Previously it was said that the ethnic Kist from Georgia’s eastern Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge was heavily injured but had survived.

The American attack took place on 4 March near the north-eastern town of Shaddadi, where Shishani had reportedly been sent to bolster local ISIS forces.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed to the BBC that the latest assessment was that "he is dead".

On Sunday, a monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the IS leader had been "clinically dead" for several days.

Last year, the US offered a $5m (?3.5m) reward for Shishani.

It said he had held numerous senior military positions within the group, including "Minister of war", BBC reported.

A veteran of the 2008 Russian-Georgian War, Batirashvili became a jihadist after being discharged from the Georgian military and subsequently served in various command positions with Islamist militant groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War.

Batirashvili was previously the leader of the Katibat al-Muhajireen (Emigrants Brigade), also known as the Muhajireen Brigade, and its successor, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (Army of Emigrants and Supporters).

In May 2013, Batirashvili was appointed the northern commander for ISIL's territory, with authority over military operations and all forces in northern Syria, specifically Aleppo, al-Raqqah, Latakia, and the northern Idlib provinces. As of late 2013, he was the the ISIL amir (leader) for northern Syria and was located in and around the Aleppo Province. He was also in charge of fighters from Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus.