First Wave of Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh Seek Safety in Armenia


First Wave of Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh Seek Safety in Armenia

Following the recent military victory by Azerbaijan in the long-standing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnic Armenians are bracing for a mass exodus from the region, with Armenia pledging to welcome them. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan voiced concerns of potential ethnic cleansing, prompting tens of thousands of civilians to seek refuge in Armenia.

Approximately 120,000 civilians residing in the South Caucasus region are preparing to flee to Armenia, expressing their reluctance to live under Azerbaijani control and their deep apprehensions regarding the threat of ethnic persecution, as conveyed by Prime Minister Pashinyan on Sunday.

In response to the dire humanitarian situation, authorities are organizing the evacuation of thousands of displaced individuals from the war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh region, where a relentless Azerbaijani military offensive has raged for the past ten months.

The initial group of evacuees, emerging from the battered Nagorno-Karabakh region, has successfully crossed the border into Armenia. Families torn apart for nearly a year were joyously reunited amidst the backdrop of a 10-month blockade and intense hostilities waged by Azerbaijani forces.

One such family, Rima and her two daughters, crossed the border in the early afternoon and were welcomed by Rima’s brother, who had eagerly anticipated their arrival, bearing chocolates and sweets. Tearful embraces and expressions of relief marked their reunion as they prepared to journey to a relative’s residence near the city of Goris, situated close to the border.

In the wake of this unfolding crisis, the breakaway Armenian government in Nagorno-Karabakh has articulated plans to transport thousands of displaced individuals to safety within Armenia. The ongoing blockade imposed by Azerbaijan has led to critical shortages of essential supplies, including food, fuel, and water, in the local capital of Stepanakert and the surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, the local ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh are urgently calling upon Azerbaijan to open the Lachin corridor route into Armenia, facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid into the region and allowing the local population to seek refuge outside Nagorno-Karabakh. Amidst growing concerns, many residents fear the onset of ethnic cleansing as Azerbaijani authorities assume control of the region.

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