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Azerbaijani Military Operation Succeeds in Ethnic Cleansing of Christian Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia

The Daily Knight

FILE - Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh walk along the road from Nagorno-Karabakh to Kornidzor in Syunik region, Armenia, Sept. 26, 2023. Thousands of Nagorno-Karabakh residents are fleeing their homes after Azerbaijan's swift military operation to reclaim control of the breakaway region after a three-decade separatist conflict. Vasily Krestyaninov - stringer, ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Between The Lines.

Interview with Dr. Sharon Chekijian, associate professor of emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, conducted by Scott Harris

Since late September, over 100,000 ethnic Armenian refugees have been forced to leave their homes in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Eighty percent of the enclave’s entire Armenian population fled after the Azerbaijani military launched an offensive, backed by Turkey, that took control of the territory. After blockading the enclave for nine months, the Azerbaijani military attack killed and wounded hundreds. Those fleeing, some with only the clothes on their backs, are unwilling to live under Azerbaijani rule, fearing they will face oppression. Armenia condemned the Azerbaijani military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh, as “ethnic cleansing.”

Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized internationally as being part of Azerbaijan, but this region has been controlled by ethnic Armenians for 35 years. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the nations have waged two wars over the territory, first during the 1990s where Azerbaijanis were driven out, and again in 2020.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Dr. Sharon Chekijian, associate professor of emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Here she discusses the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenians call Artsakh, and the current situation for the enclave’s residents that have been forcibly exiled in a crisis largely ignored by the world community and news media.

Refugees ride in the back of a truck as they arrive in Kornidzor, Armenia, September 26, 2023. rakli Gedenidze/Reuters

DR. SHARON CHEKIJIAN: In 2020, Azerbaijan attacked the area and regained some areas that were being occupied as sort of a buffer zone for safety. But they also took areas of Artsakh. So I can’t say they regained those areas because those were never their areas, although they were within the Soviet borders of Azerbaijan. There was a horrific 44- day war and it left us with a very small land mass.

Within that area there were 120,000 Armenians that were living. Last year, actually, I was in Armenia and there was an attack, a sort of four-day war on different areas in Armenia proper and also attacks on Artsakh. And this year, with all the pressure that was being mounted by the international community, which was not enough pressure to stop what happened, Azerbaijan decided to attack and the world powers have said that they were being reassured by Azerbaijan that they were not going to attack.

But all of the signs were there, namely munitions flowing from Israel into Azerbaijan, which we saw before the 2020 war. And on Sept. 19, they really brutally attacked civilian populations. There are reports, although there are no international observers, nor will they let U.N. missions into the areas where this happened. But there are reports that there were massacres of approximately four villages — beheadings, including the beheading of the mayor of Martakert.

Death of children, actually, beheadings of children and videos being posted of Azeris firing directly into civilian settlements. And so when the following day Lachin corridor