TBILISI, DFWatch–An intelligence official in Georgia says dozens of foreigners have been prevented from entering Georgia, because they were suspected of preparing to go to Syria to join ISIS.
Deputy head of the State Security Service Levan Izoria told Maestro TV that the government was provided a list by partner countries which contains more than a thousand names, including terrorists and ‘potential terrorists.’
Explaining the government’s measures to prevent people from joining terrorist organizations, he said those people were ‘using Georgia as a transit country.’
Tens of attempts to join ISIS in Syria through Turkey have been foiled, he stated, operations targeted at people of African and Arabic origin. “There are more than 30 names only from Somalia.”
On Sunday, a person arrested in the town Belkani, Azerbaijan, for trying to cross the border into Georgia in order to join ISIS, according to Izoria.
The deputy also expanded on the Security Service’s crackdown on websites supporting ISIS, announced by a spokesperson on Sunday. An investigation has been opened into Georgian-language websites promoting terrorist organizations. Izoria explained that there are a number of such websites, which publish material about ISIS every day in a positive way.
He said the investigation will attempt to identify the people behind them and the active users, and authorities are also preparing to ask for a court order to close down the websites in question.
Under Georgian legislation, it is a punishable offense to publicly express support for a terrorist organization or call on others to join or support such organizations.
In June, Interior Ministry detained four people, who allegedly recruited youth for ISIS.
At least 13 Georgians have died in the Syria war.
(This article has been corrected. A previous version erroneously said that dozens of suspected ISIS recruits had been arrested in Georgia.)