Ethnic Circassians living in Syria have requested Georgia provide them temporary asylum, Georgian public TV reported, citing Andro Gabisonia, the representative of the Georgian Circassian Congress.
Gabisonia said he had received a letter from Circassian diaspora representatives from Syria, requesting temporary asylum in Georgia due to the violent unrest in the country. He said that Syrian Circassians hope the Georgian government will look into the possibility of solving this issue and providing them with assistance.
Human rights organizations estimate that well over 1,000 Syrians have been killed as the government has cracked down militarily on anti-government protesters across the country. Over 10,000 people have already fled the unrest into neighboring Turkey.
Georgia is the only country in the world that has recognized the Circassian genocide – a late 19th Century pogrom of ethnic Circassians by the Russian Empire, during which thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands forced from their homes in the northwest Caucasus. Most resettled in modern-day Turkey, although about 100,000 live in Syria.