Over 20,000 Georgian refugees return home after conflict
Over 20,000 Georgians displaced by an armed conflict between Tbilisi and Moscow over breakaway South Ossetia have returned to their home villages in buffer zones, the UN refugee agency said on Monday. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (the UNHCR) said the armed conflict in South Ossetia had displaced a total of around 192,000 people. Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August after Georgia launched a military offensive against South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the republic, which split from Georgia in the early 1990s. Russian troops continued to occupy buffer zones in Georgia close to the border with South Ossetia and another breakaway region Abkhazia until October 8. The UNHCR says around 78,000 out of 133,000 displaced people, who took shelter on Georgian territory, have already returned home. Russian authorities say that about 2,000 out of 30,000 South Ossetians who crossed the Russian border into North Ossetia following Georgia's attack are still living in the Russian republic. The UNHCR also says that refugee centers will be capable of accommodating up to 35,000 people by the start of winter.