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Armenians torch their properties on land ceded to Azerbaijan

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KALBAJAR, Azerbaijan – In a bitter farewell to his dwelling of 21 years, Garo Dadevusyan wrenched off its steel roof and ready to set the stone home on fireplace. Thick smoke poured from homes that his neighbors had already torched earlier than fleeing this ethnic Armenian village about to return underneath Azerbaijani management.

The village is to be turned over to Azerbaijan on Sunday as a part of territorial concessions in an settlement to finish six weeks of intense combating with Armenian forces. The transfer gripped its 600 folks with worry and anger so deep that they destroyed the properties they as soon as liked.

The settlement – known as Karvachar in Armenian – is legally a part of Azerbaijan, nevertheless it has been underneath the management of ethnic Armenians because the 1994 finish of a warfare over the Nagorno-Karabakh area. That warfare left not solely Nagorno-Karabakh itself however substantial surrounding territory in Armenian palms.

After years through which sporadic clashes broke out between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, full-scale combating started in late September this yr. Azerbaijan made relentless navy advances, culminating within the seizure of town of Shusha, a strategically key metropolis and considered one of sturdy emotional significance as a longtime middle of Azeri tradition.

Two days after Azerbaijan introduced it had taken Shusha, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a Russia-brokered cease-fire underneath which territory that Armenia occupies outdoors the formal borders of Nagorno-Karabakh might be step by step ceded.

Muslim Azeris and Christian Armenians as soon as lived collectively in these areas, nevertheless uneasily. Although the cease-fire ends the combating, it aggravates ethnic animosity.

“In the end, we will blow it up or set it on fire, in order not to leave anything to Muslims,” Dadevusyan stated of his home.

He spoke whereas taking a relaxation from salvaging what he may from the house, together with steel roof panels, and piling it onto an aged flatbed truck.

The truck’s last vacation spot is unclear.

“We are homeless now, do not know where to go and where to live. Do not know where to live. It is very hard,” stated his spouse Lusine, choked by tears, as they gave the inside of the home a final look.

Dadevusyan’s dismay prolonged to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Armenia and Russia preserve shut relations and Russia has a sizeable navy base in Armenia, so many Armenians had hoped for help from Moscow. Instead, Russia facilitated the cease-fire and territorial concessions and is sending in almost 2,000 peacekeepers to implement it.

“Why has Putin abandoned us?” Dadevusyan stated.

Hundreds of hundreds of Azeris had been displaced by the warfare that led to 1994. It is unclear when any civilians would possibly attempt to settle in Karvachar – which is able to now be recognized by its Azeri identify Kalbajar – or elsewhere.

Any returns may very well be wrenching. Settlers will confront the burned, empty shells of homes – or worse. Agdam, which is to be turned over subsequent week, as soon as was a metropolis of about 40,000, however now could be an empty sprawl of buildings that had been destroyed within the first warfare or later ruined by pillagers grabbing constructing supplies.

For the Dadevusyans, their sudden relocation is overwhelming past phrases.

“When you spent 21 years here and now need to leave it…,” Garo Dadevusyan stated, trailing off, as smoke from close by burning homes choked the air. Soon, he knew, his home can be considered one of them.





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