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The Ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to Leave for Armenia Amid Fears of Ethnic Cleansing

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The Ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh Choose to Leave Amid Fear of Ethnic Cleansing

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The 120,000 ethnic Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh have made the decision to relocate to Armenia. They express their unwillingness to live as part of Azerbaijan and fear the possibility of ethnic cleansing. The leadership of the breakaway region conveyed this to Reuters on Sunday.

Nagorno-Karabakh, although internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, has been beyond the control of Baku since the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After a swift 24-hour military operation by the much larger Azerbaijani military, the Armenians of Karabakh were compelled to declare a ceasefire on September 20.

Azerbaijan claims that it will safeguard the rights of the Armenians and integrate the region. However, the leaders of the Armenians in Karabakh informed Reuters that they have decided to leave.

Azerbaijan has consistently denied any intent to harm them. “Our people do not want to live as part of Azerbaijan. Ninety-nine point nine percent prefer to leave our historic lands,” stated David Babayan, an adviser to Samvel Shahramanyan, the president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh.

There is uncertainty regarding when the Armenians of Karabakh will relocate through the Lachin corridor, which connects the territory to Armenia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia has faced calls to resign for failing to protect Karabakh.

Babayan expressed, “The fate of our poor people will go down in history as a disgrace and a shame for the Armenian people and for the whole civilized world. Those responsible for our fate will one day have to answer before God for their sins.”

Babayan also mentioned that the process of disarming the ethnic Armenian fighters is currently underway.

The mass exodus from Karabakh signifies another significant chapter in its tumultuous history. Over the centuries, the region has been under the influence of Persians, Turks, Russians, Ottomans, and Soviets.

This situation could also alter the delicate balance of power in the South Caucasus region, which is a diverse area with intersecting oil and gas pipelines. Russia, the United States, Turkey, and Iran are all vying for influence in this region.

Azerbaijan, a predominantly Muslim nation, has stated that the Armenians, who are predominantly Christian, are free to leave if they desire. However, Pashinyan has urged them to stay unless it becomes unsafe for them to remain.

On Sunday, medical evacuations from the breakaway region are expected to take place. Additionally, the ethnic Armenian authorities in the region reported that approximately 150 tons of humanitarian aid from Russia and 65 tons of flour provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross have arrived.

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