Ossetian mother tells of miraculous escape
Paisia Sytnik was just one of many people buried under the debris of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, almost completely destroyed by Georgian missiles – but her voice from the underground has been heard by millions.
“Planes are bombing us. I'm sitting here, in the basement, fire is raging above us. Let somebody come and help us. Where are the peacekeepers? I'm sitting here together with other people. My son has been killed. Why nobody comes to save us?” Paisia then said.
An Ossetian woman managed to make contact with her friends and relatives outside South Ossetia and called for help.
“I'm now in Vladikavkaz, the North Ossetian capital. The woman trapped in the basement was able to call some of her friends. She said she was sitting there next to her dead son, and nobody can help get her out. She's shocked. She's crying – she wants to get out and bury her son,” said Jemma, friend of the conflict victim.
Paisia spent many hours under the rubble of her apartment block in Tskhinvali, with no food and no water, in a dress covered with blood of her dead son before she managed to escape.
“People must have seen the building on fire and started shouting if anybody was under there. They made several attempts to take us all out,” Paisia said.
Paisia’s 20-year old son had just graduated from medical college this summer. He wanted to go to Moscow. But now, he never will.
“My son's body remained under the rubble. I came back to him in the morning. We made a pit not far from there and put him there on a piece of a roof that had fallen down. We couldn't bury him anywhere. We had no coffin,” Paisia said.
Paisia says she used to live in the southern district of Tskhinvali but the city she spent most of her life in no longer exists.
“I also have a daughter. I cannot imagine how and where we will now live. Everything is burned,” she said.
After three days of intermittent bombardment, the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali is said to lie in ruins.
Those lucky to survive are fleeing to neighbouring areas, but many still remain trapped in the ruins of the damaged city.