Nearly 30,000 refugees flee to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh

  • IANS
  • World News
Nearly 30,000 refugees flee to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh
Credit: © Reuters.

Yerevan, Sep 27 (IANS) Since Azerbaijan seized Nagorno-Karabakh last week, nearly 30,000 ethnic Armenians, or a quarter of the population of the disputed region, have fled to Armenia.On Tuesday, hundreds of cars and buses were trying to reach the Armenian town of Goris across the border, with Azerbaijani border security subjecting the fleeing refugees to rigorous checks, reports the BBC.

On the main town square of Goris, volunteers have handed out some basic food and blankets to the arriving people.

Evacuees were being registered and there was also buses to move people to another town or village.

So far, only one aid delivery of 70 tonnes of food has been allowed through to the conflict-hit region since separatists accepted a ceasefire and agreed to disarm.

Azerbaijan announced that another aid convoy, with 40 tonnes of flour and badly-needed hygiene products, was on its way to the region.

Ethnic Armenian leaders have said thousands are without food or shelter and sleeping in basements, school buildings or outside, the BBC reported.

The Armenian Health Ministry said it was sending helicopters to evacuate patients from the region's strained hospitals.

Azerbaijan also said it had sent medical supplies.

Also on Tuesday, envoys from Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Brussels for European Union-backed talks -- the first time diplomatic negotiations took place between the two nations since the seizure.

Azerbaijan has also started separate negotiations with Karabakh's ethnic Armenian authorities about the region's future.

Nagorno-Karabakh - a mountainous region in the South Caucasus - is recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan, but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians for three decades.

The enclave has been supported by Armenia - but also by their ally, Russia, which has had hundreds of soldiers there for years.

Five Russian peacekeepers were killed - alongside at least 200 ethnic Armenians and dozens of Azerbaijani soldiers - as Azerbaijan's army swept in last week.

On Monday evening, a massive blast at a fue depot killed at least 68 people while they were attempting to leave.

Nearly 300 more were injured and 105 remain unaccounted for, reports the BBC.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion.


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