HomeWorld NewsNagorno-Karabakh: Most people have left enclave for Armenia as Azerbaijan retakes control...

Nagorno-Karabakh: Most people have left enclave for Armenia as Azerbaijan retakes control | World News

A mass exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh has virtually emptied the breakaway territory after Azerbaijan took back control in a military operation.

More than 100,000 have now fled to Armenia from the disputed region, which had a population of around 120,000 before Baku launched the successful lightning offensive, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

The number of vehicles to cross the Hakari Bridge, which links Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, since last week has topped 21,000.

Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh gather next to their belongings near a tent camp after arriving to Armenia's Goris in Syunik region, Armenia, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. Armenian officials say that by Friday evening over 97,700 people had left Nagorno-Karabakh. The region's population was around 120,000 before the exodus began. (AP Photo/Vasily Krestyaninov)
Three decades of conflict in the region has fuelled suspicion on both sides. Pic: AP

Some families were forced to queue for days because the winding mountain road that is the only route out became jammed with traffic.

Meanwhile, Armenia has asked the EU for temporary shelters and medical supplies to cope with the influx, Italy has said.

The flight of more than 80% of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population has raised questions about Azerbaijan’s plans for the enclave that was internationally recognised as part of its territory, but which had been run by an ethnic Armenian breakaway state since the 1990s.