Early on August 8, Georgian forces launched an assault against the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali. Russian forces responded in kind, opening another front in Abkhazia and bombarding Georgian cities. The conflict continued until a ceasefire was signed on August 15-16. According to UNHCR, a total of 192,000 people were displaced because of the conflict.

During the conflict, it appeared that there were indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure, a violation of international law.

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Georgian village of Tamarasheni
Satellite image of the Georgian village of Tamarasheni, South Ossetia, taken on 19 August. The red dots represent all buildings sustaining damage (152 structures in total). © 2009 ImageSat. All Rights Reserved. Produced by AAAS.
  • During the conflict, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) obtained satellite imagery to analyze and document the destruction to Tskhinvali and 24 of its surrounding villages. Satellite images were obtained from both August 10th and 19th, revealing damage to 424 structures. Much of the damage occurred after the major hostilities of the first two days of the conflict.
  • Not only do the images reveal significant damage in the region after the end of the major hostilities from the first two days of the conflict, but they support eyewitness accounts of arson attacks by South Ossetian forces, paramilitary groups and privately armed individuals against property owned by ethnic Georgians. The images support AI assessments that the majority of the damage in Tskhinvali was sustained prior to August 10, and that more than 100 civilian houses in Tskhinvali were hit by shelling during the initial Georgian bombardment.
  • Click here to view the chart detailing the damage.

Pictures from the Ground

Ruins on Thälmann Street in Tskhinvali, 8/24/2008.

© Amnesty International, All Rights Reserved.
  An internally displaced woman in front of her former home on Thälmann Street, 8/24/08

© Amnesty International, All Rights Reserved.
  Map of Georgia
Map of Georgia
© Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries.