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Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Intensifies As Azerbaijani Forces Advance

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict intensifies as Azerbaijani forces advance. Tensions in the South Caucasus have reached a boiling point in recent months, with the focus of the dispute centered around the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Daisy-Mae Schmitt
Sep 19, 2023162 Shares32463 Views
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict intensifies as Azerbaijani forces advance. Tensions in the South Caucasus have reached a boiling point in recent months, with the focus of the dispute centered around the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
While internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, this region has been a source of conflict for decades, leading to devastating consequences for both sides.

A Renewed Conflict

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated dramatically with the sounding of air raid sirens and the eruption of mortar fire in the enclave's main city.
This outbreak of violence claimed the lives of both Azerbaijani police and civilians, who fell victim to a mine blast and another incident.
Defence officials in Nagorno-Karabakh accused the Azerbaijani military of violating the ceasefire with missile-artillery strikes, referring to it as a "large-scale military offensive."
The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh is far from new. It has a history that dates back to the early 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed.
This led to the first war over the region, which was followed by a second outbreak of hostilities in 2020. In 2018, Azerbaijan managed to recapture territories in and around Karabakh that had been under Armenian control since 1994.

The Lachin Corridor Blockade

Adding fuel to the fire, Azerbaijan imposed a blockade of the only route into Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia, known as the Lachin Corridor, in December. This move further strained the already fragile peace in the region.
As the conflict reignited, both sides presented contrasting narratives. Azerbaijan's defence ministry accused Armenian forces of "systematic shelling" of its army positions and responded with "local, anti-terrorist activities" aimed at securing the withdrawal of Armenian formations from its territories.
They claimed to target only legitimate military objectives with high-precision weapons, denying any intention to harm civilians or civilian infrastructure.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, on the other hand, refuted the accusations and accused Azerbaijan of launching a "ground operation aimed at ethnic cleansing of Karabakh Armenians."
The sound of artillery and gunfire echoed from the streets of Karabakh's regional capital, Khankendi, causing grave concerns for the estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians residing in the enclave.

Humanitarian Consequences

The conflict's impact on civilians is alarming. Reports indicate that residential areas in Khankendi were hit, leading to casualties, including a child, and multiple wounded.
This escalation in hostilities puts the lives and well-being of innocent civilians at grave risk.
The international community has been quick to express concern over the renewed conflict.
Russia's foreign ministry stated that it had received minimal advance warning of the Azerbaijani offensive and urged both countries to respect the ceasefire signed after the 2020 war.
The European Union's regional special representative, Toivo Klaar, called for an immediate ceasefire, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.
Landmine blast
Landmine blast

Fragile Ceasefire

The ceasefire that ended the six-week war in 2020 has been under increasing pressure in recent months.
South Caucasus commentator Laurence Broers noted that the Armenian population in Karabakh had been weakened due to the blockade. The Azerbaijani operation appears to be an attempt to regain control of the entire Armenian-populated region.
Russia had deployed 3,000 peacekeepers to monitor the 2020 ceasefire, but its focus has since shifted due to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
This has led to concerns that Russia is spontaneously withdrawing from the South Caucasus, leaving a void in the region. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, has received strong support from its ally Turkey.

Escalating Tensions

Azerbaijan had previously denied increasing troop numbers in the region, and hopes for a peaceful resolution had emerged when the International Committee of the Red Cross was allowed to provide aid to Karabakh through two designated routes.
However, these hopes were dashed when Azerbaijani officials reported casualties, including police officers, in a landmine incident, leading to renewed hostilities and accusations.
In conclusion, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh remains deeply concerning, with the potential for further escalation and humanitarian suffering.
The international community must work tirelessly to bring both sides to the negotiating table and seek a peaceful resolution to this long-standing conflict.
The people of Nagorno-Karabakh deserve peace and stability, and their suffering should not be allowed to continue.

Final Words

The recent outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh has reignited a long-standing conflict with dire consequences for civilians on both sides.
The international community's urgent intervention is essential to de-escalate tensions, uphold ceasefires, and promote peaceful negotiations.
The people of Nagorno-Karabakh deserve stability and security, and it is crucial to prevent further suffering in this troubled region.
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