Understanding the Armenia vs Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh
The Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized globally as Azerbaijan's territory but has a majority Armenian population resisting Azerbaijan's rule for more than a century.
Earlier on Sunday, Armenia stated it was declaring martial law, assembling its army, and directing civilians to take shelter. The Former Soviet republic claimed that its neighboring country Azerbaijan had launched a military operation inside a disputed region called Nagorno-Karabakh. In response, Azerbaijan said it launched an attack after the Armenian shelling.
The Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized globally as Azerbaijan’s territory but has a majority Armenian population resisting Azerbaijan’s rule for more than a century. In 1991, the region was declared independent, and since then, it has ruled itself – with Armenian support – as the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh.
Despite signs of possible progress towards peace during the last two years, one of Europe’s “frozen conflicts” has erupted again. Since Sunday, troops from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian military have been fighting Azerbaijani forces, armor, and aircraft. At least 80 people have been killed, including 11 civilians, and hundreds more are said to be injured.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous and landlocked region inside the borders of Azerbaijan. The region has been a source of dispute since before the creation of the Soviet Union.
In 1988, towards the end of the Soviet rule, Armenian secessionists and Azerbaijani forces started a fierce war, which left the Nagorno-Karabakh in the hands of ethnic Armenians.
Tens of thousands of people died in the fighting, and many ethnic Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes.
A war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces ended in a ceasefire in 1994, with Armenia in full control of Nagorno-Karabakh and other smaller enclaves of Azerbaijan’s territory.
It is now a de facto independent region, relying profoundly on support from Armenia. However, it is not recognized by any UN member, including Armenia.
Negotiations have failed to provide a permanent peace agreement, and the conflict in the region remains one of the post-Soviet Europe’s “frozen conflicts.”
- The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said he has been “extremely concerned”, urging both the countries to stop fighting.
Secretary-General @antonioguterres voices extreme concern over the fresh resumption of hostilities along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, calling on the sides to immediately stop fighting.
Full statement here: https://t.co/kDy0tSyTZs
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) September 27, 2020
- The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, held important talks both with the Armenian and Azerbaijan’s leadership.
- The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supports Azerbaijan, and called on “the entire world to stand with Azerbaijan in their fight against aggression and tyranny.”
- France, which has a large Armenian community, called for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue.
- Iran, which borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, offered to broker peace talks.
- The US President, Donald Trump, said the US has been attempting to stop the violence.
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