US calls on Azerbaijan to safeguard Armenians as thousands flee Karabakh

  • At least 13,500 Armenians have left Karabakh
  • U.S. says Azerbaijan should shield rights
  • U.S. calls for humanitarian and monitoring mission
  • Russia scolds Armenia for flirting with West
  • Azerbaijan hints at land hall to Turkey

NEAR KORNIDZOR, Armenia, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Hungry and exhausted Armenian households jammed roads to flee houses within the defeated breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, whereas the United States known as on Azerbaijan to shield civilians and let in assist.

The Armenians of Karabakh – a part of Azerbaijan past Baku’s management because the dissolution of the Soviet Union – started fleeing this week after their forces have been routed in a lightning army operation by Azerbaijan’s army.

At least 13,550 of the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who name Nagorno-Karabakh residence arrived in Armenia on the primary day of the exodus, with a whole lot of vehicles and buses filled with belongings snaking down the mountain street out of Azerbaijan.

Some fled packed into the again of open-topped vans, others on tractors. Grandmother of 4 Narine Shakaryan arrived in her son-in-law’s outdated automotive with 6 folks packed inside. The 77km drive had taken 24 hours, she stated. They had had no meals.

“The complete approach the youngsters have been crying, they have been hungry,” Shakaryan advised Reuters on the border, carrying her 3-year outdated granddaughter, who she stated had grow to be unwell throughout the journey.

“We left so we might keep alive, not to stay.”

As Armenians rushed to go away the Karabakh capital, identified as Stepanakert by Armenia and Khankendi by Azerbaijan, gasoline stations have been overwhelmed by panic shopping for. The authorities there stated a minimum of 20 folks have been killed and 290 injured in an enormous blaze when a gasoline storage facility blew up on Monday.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) chief Samantha Power, within the Armenian capital Yerevan, known as on Azerbaijan “to preserve the ceasefire and take concrete steps to shield the rights of civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Power, who earlier handed Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan a letter of help from U.S. President Joe Biden, stated Azerbaijan’s use of pressure was unacceptable and that Washington was an acceptable response.

She known as on Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to stay up to his promise to shield ethnic Armenian rights, totally reopen the Lachin hall that connects the area to Armenia and let in assist deliveries and a global monitoring mission.

Aliyev has pledged to assure the security of Karabakh’s Armenians however stated his iron fist had consigned the concept of the area’s independence to historical past.

Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh area register on the assist centre within the border village of Kornidzor, Armenia, September 26, 2023. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze Acquire Licensing Rights


Ethnic Armenians who managed to get to Armenia gave harrowing accounts of fleeing demise, struggle and starvation.

Some stated they noticed many useless civilians – one stated truckloads. Others, some with younger youngsters, broke down in tears as they described a tragic odyssey of operating from struggle, sleeping on the bottom and with starvation churning of their bellies.

“We took what we might and left. We don’t know the place we’re going. We have nowhere to go,” Petya Grigoryan, a 69-year-old driver, advised Reuters within the border city of Goris on Sunday.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm accounts of the army operation inside Karabakh. Azerbaijan has stated it focused solely Karabakh fighters.

USAID’s Power stated the world would be taught extra quickly in regards to the severity of circumstances in Karabakh and what folks had gone by there that had prompted them to go away.


The Azerbaijani victory modifications the stability of energy within the South Caucasus area, a patchwork of ethnicities crisscrossed with oil and gasoline pipelines the place Russia, the United States, Turkey and Iran are jostling for affect.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Armenia had relied on a safety partnership with Russia, whereas Azerbaijan grew shut to Turkey, with which it shares linguistic and cultural ties.

Armenia has currently sought nearer ties with the West and blames Russia, which had peacekeepers in Karabakh however is now preoccupied with the struggle in Ukraine, for failing to shield Karabakh. Moscow denies blame and has advised Pashinyan that he’s making an enormous mistake by flirting with the United States.

Aliyev hinted on Monday on the prospect of making a land hall to Turkey throughout Armenia.

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, advised Washington to cease stoking anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia.

Reporting by Felix Light NEAR KORNIDZOR, Armenia, Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Peter Graff

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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As Moscow bureau chief, Guy runs protection of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Before Moscow, Guy ran Brexit protection as London bureau chief (2012-2022). On the night time of Brexit, his staff delivered considered one of Reuters historic wins – reporting information of Brexit first to the world and the monetary markets. Guy graduated from the London School of Economics and began his profession as an intern at Bloomberg. He has spent over 14 years protecting the previous Soviet Union. He speaks fluent Russian.
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