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South Ossetia (Ossetian: Хуссар Ирыстон, Xussar Iryston; Russian: Южная Осетия, Yuzhnaya Osetiya; Georgian: სამხრეთ ოსეთი, Samkhret Oseti (unofficial)) is a de facto independent, disputed place in South Caucasus. It declared independence from Georgia in 1990.
South Ossetia was a Soviet oblast (region) with some self-rule and controlled big parts of the region. When it declared its independence in 1990, Georgia tried to take back the region by force and it led to the 1991-1992 South Ossetia War. Georgia tried to retake South Ossetia again in 2004 and in 2008. In 2008, Ossetia's fighters were backed by Russian troops and they gained full control of the region, but its separation from Georgia has only been recognized by three other countries (Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela) and Abkhazia (a similar place), and it is de jure (officially) a part of the Georgian region (mkhare) of Shida Kartli.
The rebels were supported by Russian and Cossack forces but, Georgia itself refuses to recognize rebel South Ossetia as an independent state; the government calls it by the medieval name of Samachablo or, more recently, Tskhinvali region (after the republic's capital).
South Ossetia is situated at central Caucasus, a border between Asia and Europe. It occupies a part of Greater Caucasus range and the foothills of Kartalin Valley. South Ossetia is a very mountainous region.
- De facto - in practice, not necessarily in law
- The Foreign Policy of Russia: Changing Systems, Enduring Interests. Robert H. Donaldson, Joseph L. Nogee. M.E. Sharpe. 2005. p. 199. .
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- South Ossetia Looking Much Like a Failed State. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/south-ossetia-looking-much-like-a-failed-state/408685.html. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
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- Smolar, Piotr (2013-10-08). "Georgia wary of Russian encroachment". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/08/georgia-russia-border-conflict-south-ossetia. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
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- Vladimir Socor, "Frozen Conflicts in the Black Sea-South Caucasus Region". Archived from the original on June 5, 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130605100210/http://www.iasps.org/eng_editor/socor_show.php?lang=&main=&type=6&article_id=356. Retrieved 2014-03-26. , IASPS Policy Briefings, 1 March 2004
- "About the Republic of South Ossetia". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20131105192500/http://southosetia.euro.ru/en_about.html. Retrieved 31 December 2012.