South Ossetia fights Georgian troops out of occupied height

Georgia’s security forces have left the height they seized earlier in the Znaur district of South Ossetia, having lost two APCs, South Ossetian Deputy Defence Minister Ibragim Gaseyev said on Wednesday.

"In the morning of August 6, Georgian security forces took a height 700 metres west of the village of Nuli, set up firing positions there and fired at the bypass road leading to Ossetian villages. At about 16:30, the Ossetian side returned fire, suppressing the firing positions, blowing up two APCs and forcing the Georgian security forces to leave the height," he said.

Gaseyev also said that "fire is being conducted at the Ossetian villages of Velit, Prinev, Khetagurovo, and Ubiat from the height called Gnezdo (nest)."

He said no casualties have been reported so far.

Gaseyev said earlier in the day that "Georgian troops have concentrated a large number of APCs and artillery systems in the area" and military observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force were in Nuli study the situation on the ground.

He noted that if the peacekeepers "fail to make the Georgian side withdraw the hardware and personnel, we will have to do that."

A source in the South Ossetian Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass that the Georgian forces are preparing for seizing a height to get control of the road leading to villages in the Znaur district.

He said, "At present, the Georgian side is concentrating personnel and equipment for taking the height west of the Georgian residential area of Nuli with the aim of controlling the road to the Znaur district of South Ossetia and blocking remote villages in this district".

South Ossetia’s security agencies "have been given an order not to allow the blocking of the road," the source said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Tskhinvali, 06Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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