Azerbaijan troops enter first district handed over by Armenia

Cheryl Sanders
November 21, 2020

A smoke rises from a burning house in Karmiravan village as ethnic Armenians leaving the the area, prior to the Azerbaijani forces being handed control in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. FRANCE 24's Luke Shrago explains. Armenia will also hand over Kalbajar district wedged between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia on November 25 and the Lachin district by December 1. Armenians are forced to leave their homes before the region is handed over to control by Azerbaijani forces.

Azerbaijan has insisted on a prominent role for its staunch ally Turkey, which was widely accused by Western countries, Russian Federation and Armenia of supplying Baku with mercenary fighters from Syria over the weeks of fighting.

Most of Azerbaijan's south-western district of Aghdam has been under the control of Armenian separatists since 1993. That war left not only Nagorno-Karabakh itself but substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.

With at least 1,000 people reported killed, the fighting that began in late September was the deadliest between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the 1980s-90s war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that providing humanitarian aid to residents of "severely hit" Nagorno-Karabakh was now a priority, and called on the United Nations and the World Health Organization to send delegations to the region.

In his national address Friday, Aliyev promised Azerbaijanis that they would return to "ancestral lands". The units of the Azerbaijani army entered the Aghdam district yesterday in accordance with the trilateral statement signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russian Federation.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.

The presidency announced Friday the replacement of defence minister David Tonoyan.

Protesters again on Friday blocked several central streets in Yerevan and demanded Pashinyan's resignation.

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