Ex-Soviet exiles give ISIS violence a Russian accent

By REUTERS
July 4, 2016 08:02

BIRKIANI, Georgia/MOSCOW - In 2012, Tarkhan Batirashvili set off from his home in ex-Soviet Georgia on a journey that would pave the way to last week's suicide attack on Istanbul airport.

"He told me: 'Father, I should find my own way in life. This country does not need me," Batirashvili's 73-year-old father, Temur, told Reuters, recalling his son's decision to leave their ethnic Chechen village and head for Turkey, then on to Syria.

Temur said he lost touch with his son after he called once from Syria.

The younger Batirashvili went on to create a force of Russian-speaking fighters under the flag of Islamic State, according to U.N. and U.S. officials. The ex-Soviet group that killed dozens of people at the airport on Tuesday is likely to be an offshoot of that force.


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