– I’m afraid I might die – VG

BURNING YOUR HOMES: Many of the Armenians who have left their homes have burned them before Azerbaijan takes over the area. Photo: ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP

As Azerbaijani forces today take over new areas of Nagorno-Karabakh, 20-year-old Natalie fears for the future.

Less than 10 minutes ago

The Azerbaijani defense says on Wednesday that their forces have occupied the Kalbajar region, the other of three regions Armenia has surrendered to Azerbaijan.

– We are still scared, the 20-year-old Natalie Melkumian tells VG.

She is Armenian and was born and raised in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Azerbaijan, but has been ruled from Armenia for three decades. The Armenians believe that the area belongs to them, and have had control there after they fought for the areas in the 80s and 90s. The Armenian breakaways had dug themselves into the trenches and promised never to give up the land in this frozen conflict. But that was before this fall.

BORN IN THE CONFLICT: 20-year-old Natalie Melkumian was born and raised in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: Private

Escape from the ravages of war

Art student Natalie says that when the war broke out at the end of September, her father sent the small family to the capital of Armenia – far away from the ravages of war. Natalie, her mother and sister were to live there for several weeks, while her father remained to fight, just as he did in the previous war.

– Often he did not say where he was to protect us, but he was on the most dangerous front lines. We have been so incredibly scared, she tells VG.

The Armenian Ministry of Health reports that 2,317 Armenian soldiers have been killed in the conflicts in the last six weeks. Azerbaijan has not said how many of its soldiers have been killed. Russia estimates that a total of 5,000 people have been killed in the war.

also read

Agreement on peace agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh war

HAVE THE WAR: Natalie Melkumian’s father, Ara (right), fought in the six-week war. Many of his friends lost their lives. Photo: Private

Was killed

– Many of dad’s friends were killed in the fighting, but he survived and was not injured, the art student Natalie tells VG.

It has long been turbulent in Nagorno-Karabakh.

– Even before this war broke out, I was afraid to live here. I have long been afraid that a new war would break out here, but I would never imagine that it was as brutal as it was, she says.

Natalie says that in three days she will move back to the hometown she fled from. Home to see her father and the city she grew up in.

– I am afraid that the war may break out once again after this peace agreement. I am prepared to die, she tells VG.

BURIED: A mother mourns her killed son in Stepanakert.

also read

Why is there a war in Nagorno-Karabakh – and is there a solution?

Celebrating with a tour

In mid-November, a peace agreement, negotiated by Russia, was signed between the two warring parties. It meant that Armenia had to relinquish control of areas that are mainly populated by ethnic Armenians.

In Azerbaijan, the agreement is celebrated and described as a full capitulation by the Armenians. However, many Armenians are very dissatisfied, which has been expressed in large demonstrations in recent times.

The Azerbaijani president has in recent days been on a tour of territories they have won back.

«We are now experiencing historic days. We managed this victory thanks to our community, will and strength “, wrote Ilham Aliyev Twitter yesterday.

On a TV show on Wednesday, he went even further.

– The Kalbajar district has today been liberated from the occupation. With all my heart I congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion, Aliyev said.

TRAVELING AROUND: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has in recent days been on a tour of territories they have won back. Together with his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, they have visited the area of ​​Aghdam, which was previously controlled by Armenian forces.

Will not leave home country

The peace agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh from 9 November means that the parties retain the positions they took during the last fighting. This means that Azerbaijan will regain 15 to 20 percent of its previously lost territory.

The Red Cross has previously criticized both sides for the attacks on civilians, and states that they are in violation of international law.

– We have seen heavy artillery attacks on large areas that have hit the civilian population hard, said regional councilor Morten Tønnessen-Krokan in the Red Cross to NTB.

Although Armenia is giving up parts of Nagorno-Karabak, 20-year-old Natalie tells VG that she wants to move home. She knows that there has been great destruction in the neighborhood, and says she is excited to see her city.

– I can not leave my homeland even though it is dangerous to live here.

FLIGHTS: Many families from the areas left to Azerbaijan have taken everything they own with them. Many have also set fire to their homes.

Published: 25.11.20 kl. 16:53

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