Photo Credit: Clay Gilliland
Military trucks on the road north of Stepanakert in Nagorno Karabakh, May 5, 2016.

More than 13,000 Armenians have fled to Armenia from Nagorno Karabakh, out of an estimated population of 120,000, after Azerbaijan had announced last Tuesday that it had launched an anti-terrorist operation in the region which is under Armenian control. The large-scale military offensive ended with an Azerbaijani victory and the surrender of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh.


Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory, although it is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Armenia took over the region during the first Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1994, and maintained its rule there, alongside the destruction of Azerbaijani religious and civil structures and the planting of thousands of landmines that continue to inflict great harm on innocent civilians.

In late September 2020, Azerbaijan launched the second war in the region and this time succeeded in pushing away the Armenian military. Russia negotiated peace between the two countries which was disrupted frequently. The latest Azerbaijani action appears to have completed the retaking of Nagorno Karabakh.

According to Azer News, citing the Azeri defense ministry, Armenian armed forces detachments had been using civilian infrastructure for military purposes, storing boxes full of weapons and ammunition, shells for grenade launchers of various types, Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, and armored corps helmets in civic buildings in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian government said it could take in 40,000 displaced families, and international charities are working around the clock to receive and treat them.

Representatives from Azerbaijan and Armenia are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to negotiate an end to the hostilities, under the guidance of Simon Mordue, the chief diplomatic adviser to European Council president Charles Michel.

Late on Monday, hours after the second round of talks between Azerbaijani officials and separatist representatives had ended in the town of Khojaly, there was a blast at a gas station nearby, just outside the Nagorno-Karabakh regional capital of Stepanakert. At least 20 people were killed and 300 wounded, according to Armenian separatists. The dead had been standing in line to receive fuel on their way to Armenia.


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