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ACAPS Short note Azerbaijan and Armenia Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh – 20 November 2020

Originally published



Following increasing tensions over the past few months, fighting broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh on 27 September and resulted in the largest escalation of fighting and highest death tolls in the area since the previous war ended in 1994. Na- gorno-Karabakh (also known as the Republic of Artsakh) is recognised as part of Azerbaijan but has been de-facto con- trolled by an ethnic Armenian administration. Conflict over the area between Azerbaijan and Armenia and ethnic Armenian forces based in Nagorno-Karabakh has been ongoing for decades (Al Jazeera 12/10/2020). For more than six weeks, fighting and displacement took place in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas, resulting in the deaths of more than 140 civilians and thousands of combatants, widespread destruction to civilian infrastructure, and disruption to services (ICG 14/10/2020; Human Rights Ombudsman via Tom de Waal 09/11/2020; Azerbaijan MoD 09/11/2020). Shelling, rocket fire, and un- manned aerial vehicle attacks have targeted densely populated cities and essential civilian infrastructure such as homes, schools, and hospitals in Nagorno-Karabakh and occupied Azeri territories, as well as in neighbouring Armenia and Azer- baijan (EASO 10/11/2020; OSCE 05/10/2020; UN OHCHR 02/11/2020). On 9 November, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed a peace agreement to end the fighting, stipulating that Azerbaijan will control the parts of Nagorno-Karabakh that it gained during the fighting, and will also be transferred control of seven Ar- menian-occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh (Tom de Waal 09/11/2020; Al Jazeera 09/11/2020; BBC 10/11/2020). Armenian forces are required to leave Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories. Ethnic Armenian residents are also va- cating the territories that are now under Azerbaijani control (Al Jazeera 15/11/2020; Eurasianet 15/11/2020).