Azerbaijan extends deadline for Armenian pullout from Kalbajar

Residents hugging each other in front of a burning house in Kalbajar Residents hugging each other in front of a burning house in Kalbajar © Reuters

15 November 2020

Armenian residents of Kalbajar are on a mass exodus as Azerbaijan is due to officially take control of the area 

The peace agreement which Armenia and Azerbaijan signed on 9 November 2020 ended six weeks of fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the agreement, Armenia should withdraw from the areas under its control in the region before November 15. Kalbajar is among the Azerbaijani districts which, together with the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, have been ruled by ethnic Armenians for decades. 

After a formal request presented by Armenia, followed by mediation with the Russian Federation’s President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev agreed to extend the deadline for Armenia’s withdrawal from November 15 to November 25 for humanitarian reasons. Meanwhile, a mass exodus of ethnic Armenian residents of the region is ongoing. 

Ethnic Armenian residents are heading to Armenia with no place to stay, leaving their home behind and sometimes even setting it on fire. Armenian forces are leaving as well, while a Russian peacekeeping contingent of 2,000 troops with a renewable five-year mission is coming to ensure full implementation of the peace agreement. A similar exodus already occurred in 1994 when Armenia won the first Nagorno-Karabakh war and occupied these areas, forcing its Azerbaijani inhabitants to leave.  


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Author: Margherita Curti; Editor: Matteo Consiglio

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