Russia has laid on transport to ferry refugees away from the South Ossetian conflict zone. More than 100 buses have already made the journey across the border to North Ossetia inside Russia. Those leaving are in no doubt as to the seriousness of the fighting, or who is responsible.
“It is war,” said one woman. “It is genocide. They are killing in broad daylight. They are attacking pregnant women and children. They are not acting like the military.”
“All day there’s been shooting. We spent all night in the basement,” said another woman. “The Georgians set fire to our village in the night.”
At least 1,000 people have already made the trip out. More are expected to follow this weekend. Those leaving say the hardest thing is not going, but not knowing what they will return to.
“I don’t know what will happen to my husband, or my relatives,” said one refugee.
North Ossetia shares the same language and culture as South Ossetia but the two were divided after the break-up of the Soviet Union.