top of page

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Explained

Just 2 days ago, the Russian Peacekeepers reported a breach of the ceasefire, the first since the peace agreement in November. This violation is being blamed on each other by both governments of their respective nations. Both foreign ministries assured the world that negotiations are under way once again. Let us find out what exactly this whole conflict is.

A conflict between the two small countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan of the Middle East over a small piece of land of not more than 1700 square miles is not so small as you might think it to be. Finding its roots in the First Nagorno Karabakh War, the conflict is over the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians and seven surrounding districts inhabited mostly by Azerbaijanis until their expulsion during the war. The conflict draws its name from the same piece of land and thus is known as the Nagorno Karabakh conflict or the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The region is De Facto controlled by the self-declared Republic of Artsakh, but is internationally recognized as De Jure part of Azerbaijan.

The present conflict began in 1988, with the Karabakh Armenians demanding the transfer of Karabakh from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. During the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, ethnic tensions between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis increased in the region and finally resulted in a full-scale war in the early 1990s. The First Nagorno-Karabakh War, also known as the Artsakh Liberation War in Armenia, ended in May 1994. This resulted in an Armenian victory. The war ended with the signing of a Russian brokered ceasefire getting signed in May 1994, followed by Peace talks mediated by the OSCE (Organization on security and Cooperation in Europe) & Minsk Group ( Russia, US, France). Since the beginning of these peace talks Azerbaijan has repeatedly accused the Minsk group of being Pro Armenian.

Although the war ended with the signing of the ceasefire agreement, the two countries continued to have border clashes all the way up till 2020 when it ultimately culminated into the Second Nagorno Karabakh War. The war started on 27 September 2020 with both countries declaring martial law and curfew. Mass mobilization of troops by both sides followed shortly after. Both sides reported the highest number of casualties since the 1994 War and blocking of all economic and transport links in the region. The war ultimately came to an end after 44 days of fighting with the signing of a peace deal brokered by Russia on November 10. The agreement stipulated the return of all occupied territory outside Nagorno Karabakh proper by Armenia to Azerbaijan, with Russian peacekeepers guaranteeing safe passage to the Armenian forces through the region of Lachin which separated Nagorno Karabakh from Armenia. As per the agreement, IDPs and refugees shall be allowed to the return to the territories of Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent areas under the control of the UNOHCR.

Importantly, the agreement also acts as an instrument for the exchange of prisoners of war, hostages, hostages and detainees as well as the remains of fatalities. Additionally, it stipulated the unblocking of all economic and transport links in the region with Armenia guaranteeing the safety of the transport link and economic routes. This, the agreement resulted in Azerbaijan regaining most of the territories it had lost during the First Nagorno Karabakh War and the normalization and de-escalation of hostilities in the region. So, is this the end of this long-drawn conflict or is it only a temporary solution? What does time hold in store for this small region and its’ people? We may never know for sure what the future holds but we can surely predict. So we hope that this agreement serves as the instrument to bring peace and stability to the region and it’s people and is able to prevent any future conflict and may act as proof to both the statement and it’s converse.

~ Shaurya Mahajan


bottom of page