Abkhazia

24 Years since the Fall of Sokhumi

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Photo: travel-images.com

Today marks the 24th anniversary since the fall of Sokhumi.

On September 27, Georgians commemorate the victims who were lost in the conflict in Abkhazia, and also mark a day of hope. Political and civil organizations organize different events; special services are held in Orthodox churches in Georgia to commemorate those who were lost.

War started in Abkhazia on August 14, 1992. On September 16, 1993, Abkhaz separatist forces violated a July 27th agreement and stormed the capital Sokhumi. According to the terms of the agreement, Georgian forces had taken their artillery out of the city, leaving Sokhumi undefended.

Throughout the war, Abkhaz forces were supported by Russian air forces and special ops, while Russian citizens were largely represented among Abkhaz forces, either as volunteers or as mercenaries.

On September 27, Georgian soldiers were forced to leave the city. Abkhaz forces stormed the government building and took members of the local government as hostages. Many of them were shot shortly after.

Abkhaz forces took full control of the territory on September 30. In the lead up to the fall of Sokhumi, part of the civilian population fled the city by sea, while the majority fled by foot through the Kodori gorge in the mountains, where many died of cold and hunger.

Around 10,000 civilians died as a result of the ethnic cleansing, and more than 300,000 became refugees. The ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia is recognised as such by many international organizations.

After years of negotiations an UN resolutions, the conflict remains unsolved, and the regime in Abkhazia refuses to allow for the return of the refugees to their homes.

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