Bloodletting And Destruction Continue In Disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Region

Charges and counter-charges continue between Armenia and Azerbaijan’s leadership amid brutal attacks on the civilian population.

According to the latest press reports, thirteen civilians have been killed, and more than 40 people were injured in an early-hours missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second-biggest city, Ganja.

A missile raid leveled a row of homes in Azerbaijan’s second city of Ganja, killing and gravely injuring people in their sleep in a sharp escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Armenian defense ministry denied the claim and accused Azerbaijan of continuing to shell populated areas inside Nagorno-Karabakh, including Stepanakert, the region’s biggest city.                                        

Both sides signed a Russian-brokered truce last weekend; however, the conflict has continued unabated.

Here are some key facts about the region:

  • A mountainous area of about 4,400 sq km (1,700 sq miles).
  • Armenia is majority Christian, while oil-rich Azerbaijan is majority Muslim.
  • Turkey has aligned itself with the Muslim side, Azerbaijan, while Russia is allied with Armenia, although maintaining a good relationship with Azerbaijan.
  • Modern-day Armenia and Azerbaijan both became part of the Soviet Union when it was formed in the 1920s.
  • In Soviet times, Nagorno-Karabakh became an autonomous region within the Republic of Azerbaijan.
  • Internationally, Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the majority of its population is ethnic Armenian.
  • An estimated one million people displaced by war in 1988-1994, and about 30,000 were killed.
  • Separatist forces captured some extra territory around the enclave in Azerbaijan in the 1990s war.
  • A stalemate has largely prevailed since a 1994 ceasefire.
  • There have been reports of ethnic cleansing and massacres by both sides over the years.

Nigel Bell Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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