An ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has recently taken a glide for the worst as authorities in the area reported another 26 servicemen being killed in the fighting, bringing the total lost to more than 80 and more than hundreds wounded.
At the heart of the dispute is the 4,400 sq km mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, the area has been under the control of ethnic Armenians since the ending of a war in 1994.
Towards the end of Soviet rule in 1988, Azerbaijan and Armenian troops began a war which left the area in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce between the two was signed in 1994.
Tens of thousands died; on top of that, many ethnic Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes as miles of Azeri territory went under Armenian control.
In reality, the area has become an independent region (de facto). However, this is not recognized by any UN member, including Armenia. Negotiations have failed with coming up with a long-lasting peace solution and the dispute remains one of post-Soviet Europe’s frozen conflicts.
Armenia who has been landlocked also face severe economic issues due to border closures with Turkey and Azerbaijan
As of today, it is estimated that up to one million are displaced from their homes and 30,000 killed because of the war that lasted from 1988 to 1994.
Turkey openly supports Azerbaijan while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “extremely concerned”, urging both sides to stop fighting. Other countries who are quick to react are France, Iran and the U.S. who have been vocal in their call of ceasefire.
Back in July, deadly clashes between the two has also led to large held demonstrations by the people of Azerbaijan who demanded the government to deploy the army and call for war. It was the largest public gathering in the country for years, with some media reporting an estimated 30,000 people taking part.
The conflict goes on as both sides are yet to come to a resolution to a ceasefire even with organizations attempting to broker an end to the long-time dispute.