In the wake of Azerbaijan’s recent victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, a mass exodus of tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians is anticipated, with Armenia opening its doors to these displaced individuals. The conflict, which traces its roots back to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has left many fearing the specter of “ethnic cleansing” in the region. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed these concerns, emphasizing the inevitability of a significant population displacement.
Pashinyan announced that approximately 120,000 civilians from the South Caucasus region are expected to seek refuge in Armenia, as they are unwilling to reside in a newly designated part of Azerbaijan. Their apprehension about the potential for “ethnic cleansing” is a driving force behind this decision, prompted by Azerbaijan’s military success.
Efforts are already underway to evacuate displaced people from the war-ravaged enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The first group of evacuees recently completed the arduous journey into Armenia, reuniting with their loved ones after enduring a 10-month blockade and an intense Azerbaijani military offensive.
Among those who crossed the border were Rima and her two daughters, who were greeted by Rima’s brother bearing chocolates and sweets. This reunion marked the first time they had seen each other in nearly a year, and their tears and embraces reflected the profound relief and joy of being together once more. Rima expressed her happiness, while her brother affirmed his unwavering belief that they would eventually be reunited and safe.
The Armenian government in Nagorno-Karabakh, the breakaway region, is preparing to relocate thousands more displaced individuals into Armenia. Azerbaijan’s blockade of the region has resulted in severe shortages of essential supplies such as food, fuel, and water, particularly in the capital city of Stepanakert and the surrounding areas.
In an urgent plea, the local ethnic Armenian government has called on Azerbaijan to open the Lachin corridor, facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid into Nagorno-Karabakh and allowing the local population to move out. The fear of an impending campaign of “ethnic cleansing” looms large as Azerbaijani authorities prepare to assume control of the territory.