Armenian refugees flee Azerbaijan. PHOTO: Caucasus Edition

A conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has exploded recently. The Middle Eastern countries have had a tense relationship for hundreds of years, centered around a territory called Nagorno-Karabakh. This territory is home to Armenian people, however, it is located in Azerbaijan and shares no borders with Armenia. 

Historically, Nagorno-Karabakh has always been a source of tension between the two countries. Originally, it was created under the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic by the Soviet Union. However, it has always been home to a population that is 95% Armenian. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent countries. Additionally, Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence at this time. Fighting erupted over the territory, with both countries claiming it. Armenia stated it was theirs on account of the population being Armenian, while Azerbaijan maintained that the territory was theirs. A war erupted over the conflict and ended with Armenia occupying 20% of Azerbaijan. However, Nagorno-Karabakh remained an independent territory, with strong relations with Armenia. In 2020, fighting broke out once more. Russia interfered and brokered a peace deal between the two, ending with Azerbaijan retaking the land it lost in the last war, but with Nagorno-Karabakh remaining independent. Additionally, there was a small passage left open to Armenia, allowing them to be connected to Nagorno-Karabakh, since the territory was so dependent on trade and aid from them. 

In late September of this year, the dispute resurfaced. Azerbaijan stated that by 2024, they would occupy Nagorno-Karabakh, and the region would be officially Azerbaijani. Armenia attempted to dispute the statement. However, Azerbaijan only doubled down on their threat, and stated that although the region would belong to them, and the Zangegur corridor, which was the pathway to Armenia, would be closed, the region would undergo much economic development, ultimately benefiting the citizens. Due to the threat, 80% of the Armenians that lived in Nagorno-Karabakh fled their home and returned to Armenia as refugees. Armenia has opened their borders to the refugees, but are currently still in conflict with Azerbaijan over the territory, and a war that has spanned decades has reemerged.

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