TSKHINVAL, May 29. /TASS/. South Ossetia will open an embassy in Syria, the Republic’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Medoyev told TASS on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, South Ossetia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement declaring mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Syria.
"Syria’s recognition of South Ossetia is an important political event as far as the Republic’s international activities go," Medoyev said. "It is a great honor and a great responsibility. We are ready to take it. We will undoubtedly have to do much in order to develop our bilateral relations but they have good prospects. South Ossetia will open an embassy in Syria, the statement is clear about that. It says that the parties ‘declare mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries at the level of embassies.’ Work to that end has already begun," the South Ossetian top diplomat added.
He also pointed out that there was a large Ossetian community in Syria. "Syria became the second home for these people, we have been maintaining relations with them and now we will develop ties further," he said.
The independence of South Ossetia and also of Abkhazia, the other former Georgian autonomous region, was earlier recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru.
During the final years of the Soviet era, South Ossetia began its struggle for independence from Georgia, which had proclaimed its path to secession from the Soviet Union. On November 10, 1989, the Council of People’s Deputies of the South Ossetian Autonomous Region transformed the region into an autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR, which unleashed a four-month blockade of South Ossetia’s capital of Tskhinval by Georgian nationalists. On September 20, 1990, the parliament of South Ossetia proclaimed the establishment of the republic and in January 1991, Georgian troops were deployed to South Ossetia. According to various estimates, some 2,000 to 4,000 people were killed in the armed conflict that raged from November 1990 to July 1992.
Under the Dagomys agreement concluded in 1992, Russian peacekeepers entered South Ossetia to settle the conflict. Along with the Russian forces, the peacekeeping mission also included a Georgian battalion and a North Ossetian one.
The peacekeepers performed their mission until August 2008. Overnight to August 8, 2008, Georgia attacked South Ossetia, prompting Moscow to defend civilians, many of whom held Russian citizenship, along with Russian peacekeepers.
As a result of the five-day war, the Georgian troops were driven out of South Ossetia. The war claimed more than 1,000 lives, including those of 72 Russian servicemen. On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia. A Russian military base was established in the Republic in 2009.