Deadly explosion in a fuel depot, painful exodus of fear-filled Armenians: the tragedies of Nagorno-Karabakh

A flight fueled by fear of ethnic cleansing, after Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenian separatist forces in this region of the Caucasus.

Since Baku regained control of Nagorno-Karabakh, at least 28,000 of the 120,000 Armenians who live in this region of the Caucasus have arrived in Armenia, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatrian announced on Tuesday, cited by the Tass agency.

Those who managed to reach Armenia provide poignant stories recounting a flight fueled by the fear of ethnic cleansing in this mountainous enclave. claimed by both Azerbaijan and Armenian separatists.

Truckloads of corpses?

Some say they have seen the bodies of numerous civilians – one of them reminiscent of entire trucks. Others burst into tears while describing their journey. “We took what we could and left. We don’t know where we are going. We have nowhere to go,” said Petya Grigoryan, a 69-year-old driver.

In their eagerness to flee Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, many Armenians gathered at gas stations. On Monday, the explosion at a fuel depot left 125 dead and nearly hundreds injured, according to Armenian authorities.

A new era

Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenian separatist forces in Nagorno-Karabakh opens a new era for this region, which was the subject of two wars between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The latest dates back to the fall of 2020 when Baku launched an offensive to retake part of the territory controlled by separatists supported by Yerevan.

It also modifies the fragile balance of forces in the South Caucasus region, populated by a mosaic of ethnic groups and crossed by oil and gas pipelines, and in which Russia, the United States, Turkey and Iran are compete for influence.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Armenia has relied on a security partnership with Russia while Azerbaijan has moved closer to Turkey, with which it shares linguistic and cultural ties.

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