By Akbar Mammadov
Yerevan seizes every opportunity to illegally settle Armenians in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories in a bid to artificially change the demographics of the region.
The country’s leadership saw the recent deadly blast in Beirut as another opportunity to illegally settle Armenians in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent seven regions.
Thus, the leader of the separatist regime set up in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, has offered the settling of 150 Lebanese-Armenian families in Nagorno-Karabakh. The separatist leader voiced his readiness to receive Armenians on August 5, during the phone conversation with the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I who is based in Lebanon’s capital-Beirut.
It should be noted that this telephone conversation took place after Armenian President Armen Sarkissian contacted with the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I.
The illegal settlement of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Armenia’s annexation policy under the guise of “repatriation” and “humanitarian assistance”.
Armenia had earlier moved thousands of Syrian Armenians to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan since the start of the Syrian war. According to UNHCR figures, at least 15,000 Syrians have found refuge in Armenia since the start of the crisis.
“Before the conflict, the estimated number of ethnic Armenians in Syria was about 100,000. More than 60,000 of them settled in Aleppo. In 2013, the number of Syrian Armenians fleeing reached 11,000 and by August 2015, over 15,000 Armenians had been reported to be seeking asylum in Armenia. Many who have not made it to Armenian cities have now settled in the disputed Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan,” according to BBC report.
According to the source of the Armenian Government as of January 1, 2020, about 15,000 Armenians have been received from Syria.
In 2012, twelve Armenian families were moved from Syria to the occupied Lachin region of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s former Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov also touched upon the resettlement of Armenian refugees from Syria by Armenia in the illegally occupied territories of Azerbaijan in 2008.
“Attempts to pursue a settlement policy and purposefully change the demographic composition of the occupied territories are a gross violation of international humanitarian law,” Mammadyarov had said.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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