The human cost of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Civilians on both sides have been caught in the deadliest fighting in the South Caucasus region for more than 25 years.
- Hundreds killed, tens of thousands displaced
- Dozens of civilians dead on both sides
- Armenia says more than 400 soldiers killed, most of whom were about 20 years old
- Azerbaijan does not announce military death toll
- Actual tolls believed to be higher
On September 27, clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan erupted over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, killing hundreds, injuring hundreds more and displacing thousands.
The disputed territory, home to about 150,000 people, is an ethnic Armenian enclave and is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan by all countries, including Armenia.
But the people of Nagorno-Karabakh – an overwhelming majority of whom are ethnic Armenians, want to govern themselves or to join Armenia, as they once voted to do.
The region broke from Azerbaijan’s control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.
A fragile ceasefire, brokered by Russia, went into effect on Saturday but was almost immediately broken, with both Armenian and Azerbaijan accusing each other of fresh attacks.
Azerbaijan said on Sunday at least nine people were killed from a long-range missile attack on an apartment building in its second city of Ganja, while Armenia alleged Azeri forces shelled the main city of Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the town of Hadrut.
Civilians on both sides have been caught in the deadliest fighting in the South Caucasus region for more than 25 years, with clashes involving artillery, tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and fighter planes.
Hundreds of soldiers have also been killed, presumably on both sides. While Armenian officials announce military death tolls, Azerbaijan does not.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify Armenian and Azeri assertions about the number of fatalities or injured, but it is widely acknowledged that the real death tolls from the crisis are believed to be much higher than what has so far been reported.
Death toll in Nagorno-Karabakh
According to the Armenia-backed Karabakh Human Rights Ombudsman, from September 27 until October 9, 20 civilians had been killed by Azeri forces.
This includes 12 men and eight women. At least 101 other civilians have been wounded.
The report said large-scale damage has also been caused to civilian buildings, as well as to infrastructure. Some 70,000 people have been displaced in the latest escalation, officials say.
Human Rights Ombudsman released the second interim report on the #Azerbaijan'i atrocities against #Artsakh population for the 27.09.2020-09.10.2020 time period.
Find the Report on the following link:https://t.co/nF6ziDK4CI…#DontBeBlind #StopAzerbaijaniAggression pic.twitter.com/Uk1z8mMJzV
— Artsakh / Karabakh Human Rights Ombudsman (@ArtsakhOmbuds) October 10, 2020
In total, some 5,800 private properties have been destroyed, in addition to 520 private vehicles. Damage has been caused to 960 pieces of civilian infrastructure, public and industrial objects.
Artak Beglaryan, the human rights ombudsman in Nagorno-Karabakh, said the day the ceasefire went into effect, Azeri forces in the town of Hadrut killed at least four civilians: Misha Movsisyan, his mother Anahit Movsisyan, Nver Grigoryan and Artyom Mirzovan.
#Azerbaijan'i side killed at least 5 civilians since ceasefire came into force. 4 ppl were killed in Hadrut-Misha Movsisyan with disabilities, Anahit Movsisyan, Nver Grigoryan & Artyom Mirzoyan. Pargev Saghyan (75) was killed in Martini & a woman (65) was wounded in Shosh village pic.twitter.com/D376uzX0ZJ
— Artsakh / Karabakh Human Rights Ombudsman (@ArtsakhOmbuds) October 11, 2020
Another 75-year-old civilian was killed in the town of Martini, bringing the death toll up to 25 on Monday.
According to the Armenian website Civil Net, which collates research-based articles, at least 429 ethnic Armenian soldiers have been killed in the conflict so far. Most who died were young, about 20 years old.
“When they released their names, they also released their birth dates,” Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith said. “Almost all of them born in 2001 and 2002.
“When you see those figures you see the pressure the leaders on both sides are under to make sure they are not the ones to be seen to be giving way to the other side,” he added.
Azerbaijan death toll
On Sunday, the Azeri Prosecutor General’s Office said 41 civilians had been killed so far as the number of injured people rose to 205.
His is Omer Nasirov.
His home in #GanjaCity of #Azerbaijan was bombed by #Armenia last night, killing 9 & wounding more than 30 civilians.
Despite of the horror he faced, Omer is strong enough to smile.
If you want to support Omer, #StopArmenianAgression.#KarabakhisAzerbaijan pic.twitter.com/gkQPovB67F
— The humans of Karabakh (@Karabakh_Humans) October 11, 2020
Life goes on. The famous kid from #Ganja missile attack by #Armenia is back in his neighborhood. #GanjaStrong#StopArmenianAggression #StopAttackingCivilians#KarabakhIsAzerbaijan pic.twitter.com/pwY75rhn8L
— Leyla Abdullayeva (@LAbdullayevaMFA) October 12, 2020
The attacks from Armenia have destroyed 1,165 houses, 57 buildings and 146 public buildings, the statement added.
Ganja and Mingachevir cities have no active artillery units deployed there. No single rocket or bullet was fired from this cities. Yet Armenian army targets them. And somehow they keep hitting only civilian targets.
— Khadija Ismayilova (@Khadija_Ismayil) October 11, 2020
As in Nagorno-Karabakh, the clashes have not spared anyone.
Images of wounded Azeri children have circulated on social media, and on Monday, Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, currently reporting from Azerbaijan, shared a photo of a funeral.
A couple, named as Anar and Nurchin, died together under the rubble after an attack allegedly by Armenian forces in Ganja.
A farewell to #Anar and #Nurchin… A couple who died together under the rubbles as a #TOCHKA-U missile fired by #Armenianforces hit #Azerbaijan’s 2nd largest city, #Ganja last night. pic.twitter.com/74JWdutFuu
— Sinem Köseoğlu (@sinemkoseoglu) October 12, 2020