Scores of people were seen leaving the war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh region for Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on November 11. The road they were taking passes through a corridor formerly held by Armenia but now controlled by Azerbaijan under a new cease-fire deal brokered by Russia.
Armenia is to hand over disputed territory to Azerbaijan in line with a peace accord that was signed between both countries after six weeks of intense fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory.
A key part of the peace deal includes Armenia´s return of Kalbajar, as well as the Aghdam district by November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1, which have been held by Armenians since a devastating war in the 1990s.
Residents of the Kalbajar district in Azerbaijan that was controlled by Armenian separatists for decades began a mass exodus of the mountainous province in the days leading up to the official withdrawal day.
Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed this week to Nagorno-Karabakh. They set up checkpoints and positions in the region´s administrative centre, Stepanakert, as part of the terms of the accord that sees Armenia cede swathes of territory that Azerbaijan’s forces gained in the fighting.
Moscow’s peacekeeping mission, which the military said included soldiers that previously were stationed in Syria, comprises some 2,000 troops for a renewable five-year mission.
The ex-Soviet rivals agreed to end hostilities earlier this week after efforts by Russia, France and the US to get a ceasefire fell through during the nearly two months of clashes.