Karabakh war leaves civilians shell-shocked and bitter

Karabakh war leaves civilians shell-shocked and bitter
Ganja, Azerbaijan after a huge explosion: Civilians are suffering on both sides. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The decades-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is no longer frozen as Azerbaijan and Armenia are engaged in the heaviest clashes since the 1990s, despite Russian mediation efforts.

Azerbaijan says retaking the disputed territory is unfinished business. The region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but the Armenians say the region was historically Armenian for centuries.

Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, lies 100km (62 miles) from the frontlines of Nagorno-Karabakh, but on Sunday – the first day of of a shaky ceasefire – that wasn’t far enough.

Azerbaijan accused Armenia of firing a ballistic missile at a residential part of the city, while Armenia accused Baku of shelling civilians.

People here view Nagorno-Karabakh as a missing piece of their territory. That is both a well-rehearsed national narrative and article of faith.

Ihtiyar Rasulov (22) has never set foot in the disputed mountain region. But the clean-shaven young man now says he’s ready to die to get it back.

To the ethnic Armenians who are the majority in Nagorno-Karabakh said this land has been their home for generations.

But Karabakh has an emotional and spiritual significance for Armenians further afield.

There has been violence on both sides. Civilians of Azerbaijan were killed in Ganja, an attack Baku blames on Armenia.

Few people here expect the Russian-brokered ceasefire to last while many don’t want it to.

On October 9, Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a temporary ceasefire after weeks of conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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