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Georgia Forces Say Rebel Abkhazia Drive Blunted

July 11, 1993| From Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia — Georgian forces on Saturday said they broke through separatists along the only road to Sukhumi, ending a weeklong blockade.

Georgian military spokesman Gocha Ablotiya said Georgians captured the village of Tamysh, south of Sukhumi, the seaside capital of Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region.

Separatists seized the area a week ago when they landed 1,500 troops south of Sukhumi and cut the only road that links the city to the rest of Georgia. Separatists hold the area north of Sukhumi.

About 100 Abkhazians were killed in Saturday's fighting, 200 were wounded and 20 were taken prisoner, Ablotiya said.

There was no information about the Georgian casualties.

An Abkhazian statement carried by television did not directly confirm the defeat, saying only the landing party had completed its mission to destroy bridges on the Sukhumi-Tbilisi road.

Abkhazian and Georgian units also clashed to the north of Sukhumi. Abkhazians said they captured the key village of Shroma, but Georgians said they pushed the separatists back in a counterattack.

Leaders of Abkhazia, a western Georgian province famous for its Black Sea resorts, declared independence in July, 1992. A month later, Georgian troops marched in. More than 2,000 people have died since, including at least 500 killed in the past week, according to both Abkhazian and Georgian officials.

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