Mass evacuation from Nagorno-Karabakh nearly complete
The waves of forced migration continue as over 100,520 ethnic Armenians flee Nagorno-Karabakh following renewed hostilities and an Azerbaijani military offensive. As the Armenpress and Azatutyun reported, the conflict area, already torn by decades of territorial disputes, has seen an escalation that drew a mass exodus, leaving the region virtually empty and echoing with the haunting silence of abandonment.
Nazeli Baghdasaryan, the prime minister’s spokesperson, disclosed the alarming figures, noting a halt in the influx of displaced persons to Armenia. The displacement resulted from the September 19-20 Azerbaijani military offensive, exacerbating an already fragile regional stability.
A region abandoned
Artsakh, known globally as Nagorno-Karabakh, was a vibrant enclave with a population of around 120,000. However, the rapid exodus, triggered by hostilities and a powerful explosion at a local fuel depot, saw the last bus carrying 15 passengers arriving in Goris, an Armenian border town. Karabakh’s human rights ombudsman, Gegham Stepanian, highlighted a dedicated team remaining behind, focusing on rescuing civilians trapped in the conflict zone.
In a related development, the Nagorno-Karabakh InfoCenter announced that President Samvel Shahramanyan of Nagorno-Karabakh, along with a team of officials, will remain in Stepanakert until the search and rescue efforts for the missing and deceased from the September 19–20 hostilities and the September 25 fuel depot explosion are finished.
The InfoCenter said that the authorities continue to focus not only on the issue of the persons who want to move to Armenia but also on who, for various reasons, could still be in the territory of Nagorno-Karabah.
International concerns mount
As the situation escalates, the international community, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is urged to intervene. Azerbaijan’s restoration of complete control over the disputed territory following the offensive has ignited accusations of ethnic cleansing from Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, a claim that Baku vehemently denies.
Meanwhile, amid the crisis, Israel, responding to a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), dispatched doctors to provide emergency medical assistance to the explosion victims in Stepanakert, marking an international response to the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding.
The criticism of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Catholicos Garegin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, did not mince words, attributing the loss of Artsakh and the ensuing displacement to the policies of Prime Minister Pashinian’s government. The church, aligning with opposition groups and Karabakh’s leadership, has been a vocal critic of the government’s approach to the Azerbaijani conflict.