/ 27 September 2023

Fleeing a crackdown

Image source: Flickr
Image source: Flickr

There’s been a crisis unfolding in Azerbaijan, with thousands of Armenian refugees fleeing over fears of ethnic cleansing. Let’s set the scene… The contention is over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian region within the borders of Azerbaijan – which, by the way, is between Russia, Turkey, and Iran. For decades, the local population has wanted to become part of the nearby nation of Armenia, a request that’s been forcibly denied by Azerbaijan, with ethnic killings on both sides. In recent times there’s been an uneasy truce maintained by Russian peacekeepers, but since the end of last year, Russia has pulled back and Azerbaijani troops blockaded the region, causing food and medicine shortages. Then, on 19 September, those troops stormed Nagorno-Karabakh, with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev claiming to have restored Azerbaijani sovereignty “with an iron fist”. And now ethnic Armenians are fleeing – and with reports of deadly explosions in the region, it’s a situation the United Nations is keeping a close eye on… 

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