More than 6 thousand people evacuated from the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia after the opening of the Lachin corridor last Sunday (24). Authorities in the breakaway region said more than 120,000 ethnic Armenians were expected to leave the territory.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is an Armenian-majority separatist enclave that has claimed independence from Azerbaijan since 1994. On September 19, Azerbaijan began a military operation in the region. The risk of a new large-scale war ended up resulting in a truce agreement less than 24 hours after the attacks began. In practice, it was a capitulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh forces.

Read more: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: understand the geopolitical impacts of the crisis in the Caucasus

The humanitarian situation in the enclave has worsened in recent months with Azerbaijan’s decision to block the Lachin corridor, the only access road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. With the measure, the population of the separatist region had its supply of food, medicine and electricity interrupted.

Last week, the Armenian ambassador in Geneva, Andranik Hovhannisyan, even accused Azerbaijan of promoting “ethnic cleansing” in Nagorno-Karabakh. In a speech at the UN Human Rights Council, the diplomat stated that “this is not a simple conflict situation, but a crime against humanity that must be treated as such.”

“Armenia has constantly informed this Council about the imminence of ethnic cleansing. Today, it is underway,” declared the Armenian ambassador.

The Azerbaijani government argues that the military offensive in the breakaway region was an “anti-terrorist operation” that required the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region. Yerevan, in turn, denied that it had Armenian military forces operating in Nagorno-Karabakh.

With the liberation of the Lachin corridor last Sunday (24), a mass evacuation of Armenians from the separatist territory began. According to authorities in the enclave, “families left homeless as a result of recent military operations and wishing to leave the republic will be transported to Armenia, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers.”

Editing: Patrícia de Matos


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