Azerbaijans Nagorno-Karabakh Seizure Sparks Mass Exodus to Armenia

Ethnic Armenians Fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh Find Refuge in Armenia Amid Concerns of Ethnic Cleansing in the Wake of Azerbaijan’s Takeover

Azerbaijans Nagorno-Karabakh Seizure Sparks Mass Exodus to Armenia

Credit: Google | Refugees fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh arrive in Armenia

In a significant development, more than 1,000 ethnic Armenians have crossed the border into Armenia from the recently contested enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. This mass exodus follows Azerbaijan’s military offensive, which successfully returned the breakaway region to its control. The refugees, many of whom left their homes with only basic necessities, are seeking safety and refuge in Armenia, with expectations of more to follow in the coming days.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has deep-rooted historical and geopolitical complexities. This recent surge of violence was emboldened by shifts in the region’s geopolitics, partly influenced by Russia‘s focus on its relations with Turkey, Azerbaijan’s principal ally. Azerbaijan’s decision to launch a military offensive and regain control of the region has left ethnic Armenians in a state of uncertainty and despair.

Over the past two decades, Azerbaijani forces, bolstered by their oil and gas wealth, have engaged in military campaigns to reclaim the territory lost in the earlier conflict. This culminated in a 44-day war in 2020, followed by the imposition of a blockade on the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. This blockade triggered a severe humanitarian crisis.

In the latest offensive, Azerbaijan swiftly consolidated its control, brushing aside Russian peacekeeping forces and defeating a small group of ethnic Armenian fighters. This situation left many refugees displaced and uncertain about their future. While there were concerns that the Azerbaijani government might detain men who had taken up arms, many were allowed to cross the border.

The refugees arriving in Armenia face an uncertain future. Despite Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan‘s announcement that Armenia is prepared to welcome 40,000 families, questions remain about housing and long-term prospects. Moreover, Pashinyan warned of the threat of ethnic cleansing for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijani rule, adding to the refugees’ anxieties.

The humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh continues to worsen, with residents enduring dire conditions. Many are left without access to food or shelter and are forced to sleep in basements, school buildings, or outdoors. The situation is exacerbated by the limited aid deliveries allowed through since the ceasefire agreement.

The international community’s response to this crisis has been mixed, with concerns over the residents’ safety persisting. While some believe that ethnic Armenians will seek refuge elsewhere due to fears of ethnic cleansing, the situation remains fluid and uncertain. As refugees continue to arrive in Armenia, the world watches, hoping for a resolution to this longstanding conflict.



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