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Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict drives thousands from their homes as death toll mounts

Moscow — Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued Wednesday for the 11th day, with no sign of a ceasefire. More than 300 people have reportedly been killed since the long-simmering dispute erupted in violence on September 27.

The two nations have disputed ownership of the mountainous enclave since becoming independent with the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been run autonomously by and is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians.

An official from the regional administration said Wednesday that the fighting had already driven half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s civilian population out of their homes.

Displaced Civilians Arrive In Armenia As Nagorno-Karabakh Clash Grows
Vartanush Avakyan, 92, waits on a bus to ride to Yerevan, Armenia, after leaving her village of Gandzasar due to fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, October 6, 2020 in Goris, Armenia.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty


“According to our preliminary estimates, some 50% of Karabakh’s population and 90% of women and children — or some 70,000-75,000 people — have been displaced,” the Nagorno-Karabakh administration’s rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, told the AFP news agency.

The fighting in the Caucasus has ended 25 years of relative peace, delivered by a ceasefire brokered to end a deadly war between the former Soviet republics over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijani officials claimed that Armenian forces had targeted an oil pipeline with cluster munitions, which most nations have banned the use of. The Armenian Ministry of Defense promptly dismissed the accusation, insisting Armenian forces had not targeted any oil or gas infrastructure.

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh on outline map
The breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan, is seen in red. 

Getty/iStockphoto


There have been claims from both sides that the other is indiscriminately shelling civilian areas.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International issued a report corroborating information that cluster

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