Aliyev Says Karabakh Conflict Over as Agdam Region Comes Under Baku's Control

News in Pics (19 November 2020) | Photos of Top News Today

News in Pics (19 November 2020) | Photos of Top News Today

Azerbaijan's president declared Friday that his forces have taken control of the Aghdam region, a territory ceded by Armenia in a cease-fire agreement that ended the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The truce, brokered by Russian Federation last week, stipulated that Armenia hand over control of some areas its holds outside Nagorno-Karabakh's borders to Azerbaijan. FRANCE 24's Luke Shrago explains.

His plan calls for a resumption of the Minsk Group, which was set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the 1990s, to mediate the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region.

Thousands of people have been killed in 6-weeks of fighting and more than half of the region's 150,000 population was displaced.

Most of Azerbaijan's south-western district of Aghdam has been under the control of Armenian separatists since 1993.

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The warring parties, at odds over the territory since before the end of the Soviet Union, finally agreed to end hostilities last week under a Russian-brokered accord, made as Azerbaijan progressed rapidly in the combat. The Russian leader said the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would remain on the positions they hold and Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region.

In addition to Friday's deadline to cede Aghdam, Armenia will hand over the Kalbajar district wedged between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia on November 25 and the Lachin district by December 1.

Five days after the start of Azerbaijan's counter-offensive operation, already 1,500 servicemen in the ranks of the Armenian Armed Forces were deserted, former head of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, former head of the control service of the Defense Ministry, Colonel-General Movses Hakobyan said.

Separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh and several surrounding districts captured the territory and claimed independence that has not been recognised internationally, even by Armenia, following a post-Soviet 1990s war that left some 30,000 dead. Before the post-Soviet war it was inhabited by some 130,000 people - mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis who were expelled from their homes. A joint statement on the matter was made by the Azerbaijani president, Armenia's PM, and the president of Russian Federation.

Since the ceasefire, Russian Federation has held talks with Turkey, a key Azerbaijani ally and a harsh critic of the Minsk group, that could lead to Ankara deploying troops to the region.

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