What’s Behind Nagorno-Karabakh Row Between Armenia and Azerbaijan
On April 2, Armenia and Azerbaijan declared a dramatic escalation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Baku and Yerevan traded blame for breaching the truce in the conflict and reported heavy fighting in the area.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported shelling and numerous ceasefire violations by the Armenian armed forces. In turn, Armenia reported offensive actions from the Azerbaijani side.
The conflict has its origins in the early 20th century, although the present conflict began in 1988. The region sough to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before proclaiming independence after the USSR collapsed in 1991. As the war progressed, both post-Soviet republics entangled themselves into a protracted war.
The enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is a historic region in the Lesser Caucasus range, in Azerbaijan. The majority of its population is Armenians. As of January 2013, the population was 146,600 people.
According to Armenian and Azerbaijani sources, there are different views of the history of the region. According to Armenia, in the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, Nagorno-Karabakh (the Armenian name – Artsakh) was under political and cultural influence of Assyria and Urartu. It was first mentioned in inscriptions of Sardur II, King of Urartu (763-734 BC).