Children, women, elderly leave Suth Ossetian, head for North Ossetia

Buses with children, women and elderly people from South Ossetia’s village of Dmenisi attacked last night are heading for North Ossetia, the unrecognised republic’s Education Minister Zamira Dzhioyeva told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

"The buses from Dmenisi are heading for North Ossetia. The civilian population will be evacuated from Tskhinvali if attacks on the city resume. Transport for evacuation is ready," she said.

The South Ossetian committee for the press and information told Itar-Tass by telephone the decision was made after the overnight attack when "fragments [of shells] landed in the yard throughout the night and many families had to put their children to bed in the cellars."

"Residents of the town of Dmenisi, Tskhinvali district, will temporary be relocated by the administration’s decision because the town came under intensive artillery fire during the night," a committee official told Itar-Tass.

North Ossetian authorities said they are prepared to accommodate as many children as may be necessary, the republic’s Emergencies Minister Viktor Kostarnov said.

"There has been no order so far. But we are prepared to evacuate children at any moment. All aspects of the evacuation will be discussed at a meeting to be held shortly," he said.

North Ossetia is determined to join forces with South Ossetia in order to repel Georgia’s aggression, North Ossetian leader Taimuraz Mamsurov told his South Ossetian counterpart Eduard Kokoity by telephone on Saturday.

"North Ossetia is closely watching the situation and is ready to come to its southern brothers’ rescue. We are abhorred by the actions of the Georgian political leadership that has unleashed a real war against Ossetians and we are determined to repel the aggression together," he said.

Mamsurov expressed condolences to the families of those killed and stressed, "the north of Ossetia will not stay indifferent to the fate of its brethren".

The attack on Tskhinvali from Georgia continued throughout the night and stopped only in the morning. As a result, six people, including a Russian peacekeeper, were killed and 12 were wounded.

Kokoity said South Ossetia might declare full mobilisation and recruit volunteers across the North Caucasus.

South Ossetia "has long and persistently tried to avoid hostilities and continue negotiations, but Georgia leaves us no choice".

"South Ossetia tried not to draw the peoples of the North Caucasus, which are always ready to help us in a brotherly way, into its problems. But today the situation is such that it is hard to us to hold back the flow of North Caucasus volunteers. We, too, find it hard to control ourselves. If tensions escalate, we will be prepared to declare full mobilisation in South Ossetia and recruit volunteers across the North Caucasus," Kokoity said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Tskhinvali, 02Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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