Battle of Tskhinvali - Battle - Georgian Attack - Operation Clear Field

Early on the morning of 8 August, Georgia launched a ground attack (codenamed Operation Clear Field) against Tskhinvali, as well as operations on the left and right flanks of the city. The left flank operation was undertaken by the 4th Infantry Brigade coming from Vaziane, while the 3rd Infantry Brigade from Kutaisi took to the right flank. The aim of the flank operations was to occupy important heights around Tskhinvali and then, moving further northwards, to take control of the strategically important Didi Gupta bridge and the roads, including the Ossetian-controlled Dzara by-pass road, leading from the Roki tunnel to Tskhinvali. This was done in order to block Russian reinforcements from travelling through the tunnel to Tskhinvali.

After the heights surrounding Tskhinvali were occupied, special forces of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), equipped with Otokar Cobra armoured vehicles, moved into the city. Their assault was supported by artillery, tanks and Su-25 ground attack planes. Georgia says that the entry to Tskhinvali took place at 06:00 am; according to South Ossetian sources, a tank attack by Georgian forces on the southern suburbs of Tshkinvali had already been repelled by South Ossetian forces at 03:46 am. By 08:00 am, Georgian infantry and tanks were engaged in a fierce battle with Ossetian forces and the Russian JPFK peacekeeping battalion stationed in the city. According to Georgian officials, 1,500 Georgian ground troops had reached the centre of Tskhinvali by 10:00 am, but were pushed back three hours later by Russian artillery and air attacks. An estimated 10,000–11,000 soldiers took part in the general Georgian offensive in South Ossetia.

At 12:15 am on 8 August, the commander of the Russian JPKF peacekeepers, Marat Kulakhmetov, reported to the OSCE monitors that his unit had come under fire and that they had casualties. According to the official Russian timeline, by 11 am Georgian forces had captured the southern base of the JPFK peacekeeping battalion, and were attempting to take the northern peacekeeper base. In order to break down the resistance of peacekeepers and South Ossetian forces, Georgia sent in armoured units. The servicemen stationed at the northern base repelled five Georgian attacks and were continuing to engage overwhelming enemy forces. At this point, the peacekeepers allegedly suffered their first casualties: two servicemen killed and five wounded. Georgia maintains that it only targeted Russian peacekeepers in self-defence, after coming under fire from their bases. In total, 10 Russian Peacekeeping force soldiers were killed during the war. The peacekeepers' cafeteria was completely destroyed and all of their buildings went up in flames.

Read more about this topic:  Battle Of Tskhinvali, Battle, Georgian Attack

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