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Twenty-Two Kyrgyz Nationals Killed In Syria

The head of the investigative department in Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry has said that 22 citizens of Kyrgyzstan have been killed in fighting in Syria.

Rafik Mambetaliev told a February 2 briefing his department had also determined that more than 200 Kyrgyz citizens have gone to Syria, 30 of them women.

He said investigators had uncovered 83 cases of people attempting to recruit Kyrgyzstan's citizens to go to Syria.

"We are working to shut down extremism, terrorism, and illegal migration to international conflicts," he said.

Mambetaliev said most of the incidents of recruitment were uncovered in the northern Chui Province and southern regions of Kyrgyzstan.

In neighboring Tajikistan, the newly appointed prosecutor-general, Yusuf Rahmonov, told reporters in Dushanbe on February 2 that 41 criminal cases, mainly in absentia, had been launched against 85 Tajik nationals fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Rahmonov added that a special center tasked with investigating recruitment cases would begin operating soon.

All the Central Asian states have been working to prevent their citizens from leaving to join jihadist groups.

A recent report from the International Crisis Group estimated that 2,000 to 4,000 people from Central Asia have gone to Syria during the last three years to join Islamist groups.

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