CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

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January 2024

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Nagorno-Karabakh formally ceased to exist. 

Nagorno-Karabakh formally dissolved. Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) 1 Jan officially ceased to exist following Azerbaijan’s lightning military operation in Sept 2023 that ended three decades of de facto self-rule. In lengthy interview about conflict with Armenia (see Armenia, Azerbaijan), Azerbaijani President Aliyev 10 Jan threatened military action if Yerevan ever sought to reclaim enclave; he also announced govt’s goal is to return 140,000 Azerbaijani internally displaced people “to their ancestral lands by the end of 2026” and reiterated that “the Armenians of Karabakh… would live as Azerbaijani citizens” should they choose to return to region. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan 25 Jan extended pre-trial detention of fifteen members of former de facto authorities. 

France-Azerbaijan tensions persisted over latter’s Sept military operation. French Senate 17 Jan adopted non-binding resolution calling on govt to condemn Azerbaijan’s military takeover of NK and impose sanctions, and to demand guarantees for right of ethnic Armenian population to return to NK; Azerbaijan’s legislature next day responded with similar calls to impose sanctions on France. Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe 24 Jan did not ratify credentials of Azerbaijani delegation, citing among other things concern about Baku’s Sept 2023 military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, “which led to allegations of ‘ethnic cleansing’”.

December 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Nagorno-Karabakh’s (NK) former de facto authorities sparked controversy in Armenia over plans for govt-in-exile amid uncertainty over enclave’s future.

Yerevan and exiled de facto NK officials sparred over proposal for govt-in-exile. After Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan 6 Dec emphasised that his constitutional responsibility is solely for Armenia, NK’s exiled former de facto leadership 10 Dec criticised attempts to “finally close” NK issue and promised “to stand up for the rights of the people of Artsakh”. Armenian MP and deputy chair of ruling Civil Contract party Gevorg Papoyan 11 Dec ruled out proposal by former de facto NK officials to create govt-in-exile in Armenian capital Yerevan. Vladimir Grigoryan, adviser to NK’s former de facto leader, 22 Dec described Sept decree dissolving enclave’s de facto institutions as void, saying “Republic of Artsakh, its government and other bodies will continue to operate after 2023”. Comments elicited strong reactions from some Armenian govt officials, prompting Grigoryan to clarify his comments were his personal opinion and that he was no longer an adviser.

Political and public organisations from NK proposed UN-led transition for region. Around 200 civil society and political organisations from NK, now based in Armenia, 10 Dec issued statement calling for region to be placed under UN administration for transition period before referendum on its future; proposal indicated reluctance to return under Azerbaijani rule.

November 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on provisional measures for ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh (NK).

International Court of Justice announced provisional measures for NK. Following Armenia’s Oct submission to ICJ requesting provisional measures against Azerbaijan for what it calls “ethnic cleansing” in NK, ICJ 17 Nov published preliminary order: court decided that Azerbaijan should ensure free return and departure of ethnic Armenians from NK, along with protection of those who decide to stay; it also called on Azerbaijan to preserve their “registration, identity and private property documents”. ICJ ordered Azerbaijan to submit report to Court in two months. Baku same day welcomed decision, highlighting how court had “reconfirmed Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and rejected Armenia’s call for Azerbaijan to withdraw troops from NK, protect cultural sites and release all military and civilian detainees.

Azerbaijan handed out fifteen-year sentence for war crimes in first NK war. Baku court 7 Nov sentenced ethnic Armenian from NK Vagif Khachatryan, arrested in July while travelling along Lachin road to Armenia for medical treatment, to fifteen years in prison for alleged involvement in 1991 Meshali massacre; according to court, Armenian armed attack on Meshali village killed 25 Azerbaijanis, injured fourteen and forcibly expelled 358 people. Khachatryan has repeatedly denied all charges.

October 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

President Aliyev visited Nagorno-Karabakh following military offensive in September, Baku unveiled reintegration plan for ethnic Armenians, and speculation mounted about future of Russian peacekeepers.

Azerbaijani leader raised national flag in empty towns across Nagorno-Karabakh. Following Azerbaijan’s one-day military offensive in Sept that ended Nagorno-Karabakh’s (NK) de facto self-governance, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev 15 Oct visited enclave. He raised Azerbaijani flags in various abandoned towns and delivered speech from main city of Stepanakert, known as Khankendi to Azerbaijanis, proclaiming nation had “fulfilled the decades-long wish of the Azerbaijani people” and announcing appointment of Maj Gen Sardar Safarov as new commandant.

Baku’s integration plans for ethnic Armenians rang hollow amid mass exodus. Baku 2 Oct unveiled plan for integrating NK’s ethnic Armenian population into Azerbaijan, promising to ensure equal rights regardless of ethnicity, religion or language; document also outlined plans for governance, security, taxation and cultural rights, and vowed to protect Armenian cultural and religious sites. Almost all residents had fled enclave by early Oct, however, leaving virtually no one left for Azerbaijan to integrate.

Future of Russian peacekeepers remained uncertain. Mass exodus from NK triggered speculation about future of Russian peacekeepers stationed in enclave. Moscow continued to insist that any decision about their future would be made with Baku and denied any intent to exit prematurely; 11 Oct it clarified that peacekeepers’ activities “will be adapted” given that “conditions under which the Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed to the region have changed”. Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan previous day dismissed possibility of Russian redeployment to Armenia amid mounting concern in Yerevan.

Armenia condemned arrest of former NK officials. Armenia 4 Oct condemned Azerbaijan’s late Sept arrests of several former NK leaders; Azerbaijan same day justified actions, saying detainees were accused of serious abuses, including war crimes. Military court in Baku 17 Oct began trial of NK resident Vagif Khachatryan, arrested late July for alleged war crimes.

September 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Azerbaijan launched military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, claiming victory after 24 hours and ending three decades of de-facto self-governance; mass exodus followed.

Azerbaijan’s 24-hour offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh ended de facto self-rule. Baku 19 Sept launched “anti-terrorist” campaign in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK), attacking territory with heavy bombardment and ground offensive. 24 hours later, Azerbaijani forces had advanced to outskirts of Stepanakert city, forcing de facto authorities 20 Sept to surrender in Russian-brokered ceasefire. Fighting reportedly left hundreds dead and many more wounded. Baku and Stepanakert held follow up talks and on 28 Sept, de facto leaders announced their self-declared govt would “cease to exist” by Jan 2024.

Military offensive followed escalating tensions and intense diplomacy. Initial signs early Sept raised fears of new war. Officials in Yerevan start of Sept reported military build-up in several areas along Armenia-Azerbaijan border (see Armenia, Azerbaijan), while de facto authorities in NK 5 Sept released video showing movement of Azerbaijani armoured vehicles near frontline; EU civilian monitoring mission 7 Sept echoed concerns about stepped-up tensions. Despite intensive EU and U.S. diplomacy to avert conflict, including agreement that led to humanitarian deliveries 18 Sept into NK, Azerbaijan launched offensive.

Humanitarian crisis exploded. Humanitarian crisis, already fraught due to Baku’s blockade of Lachin corridor connecting Armenia with NK, escalated. Stepanakert flooded with ethnic Armenians from villages seized by Azerbaijani forces amid scarce supplies of food, medicine and electricity. Azerbaijan 26 Sept announced measures to respond to needs but failed to appease locals, whose fears for their future under Baku’s rule mounted after its forces 26 Sept detained former de facto senior official Ruben Vardanyan as he tried to leave. Beginning 24 Sept, locals streamed out of enclave and as of 30 Sept, over 100,000 had crossed into Armenia; many more expected in coming weeks (see Armenia).

Baku’s actions drew mixed responses from international community. EU and U.S. condemned offensive; Turkish President Erdoğan 20 Sept expressed his support for Azerbaijan before 25 Sept meeting with Azerbaijani President Aliyev in Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave; and Moscow refrained from criticising Baku, 25 Sept criticised Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan’s “reckless approach” toward NK.

August 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Escalating humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh triggered emergency session at UN Security Council (UNSC); de facto authorities and Baku remained at loggerheads.

Humanitarian crisis deteriorated further. Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) continued to experience acute shortages of food, fuel and medical supplies due to Baku’s blockade of Lachin road, which connects NK to Armenia, fuelling humanitarian crisis. International Committee of Red Cross, unable to deliver aid since late July, 18 Aug reiterated appeal to resume assistance. Baku 30 Aug blocked French humanitarian convoy from entering NK via Lachin. Azerbaijani Red Crescent society 29 Aug sent food trucks via Agdam road, which connects NK to Azerbaijan-controlled Agdam region; de facto authorities 30 Aug declared it would not accept aid (many in Armenia and NK view Baku’s preference for Agdam route as tactic to integrate enclave into Azerbaijan and entrench Lachin blockade). Meanwhile, Azerbaijani border guards 28 Aug detained three ethnic Armenians from NK as they attempted to cross Lachin checkpoint; detainees allegedly members of football team filmed stepping on Azerbaijani flag in 2021.

UNSC failed to pass NK resolution during emergency session. UNSC 16 Aug held emergency session on crisis at Yerevan’s request, highlighting worsening humanitarian situation and urging resumption of aid deliveries but failing to pass resolution. Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan 17 Aug said UNSC “reaffirmed the existence of a humanitarian crisis”, which therefore contradicted Azerbaijan’s denial of blockade; Azerbaijan same day dismissed Armenia’s failed “attempt to instrumentalise” UNSC.

Baku and Stepanakert disagreed on proposal to resolve crisis. Azerbaijani foreign ministry 11 Aug announced that international “shuttle diplomacy” had produced deal to resolve crisis; agreement (based on Russian proposal put forward in July) envisioned opening Agdam road and in reciprocation, 24 hours later, traffic through Lachin road would be allowed to increase. Despite reportedly considering proposal, de facto authorities 17 Aug rejected it on grounds it gave Baku full control over deliveries via both roads; Baku consequently accused Stepanakert of sabotaging efforts to resolve crisis. De facto leader of NK Arayik Harutyunyan 31 Aug announced intention to resign, marking further blow to work on resolving crisis. Meanwhile, de facto forces and Azerbaijan throughout month traded blame for near daily “ceasefire violations”.

July 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Lachin blockade continued to aggravate humanitarian suffering, tensions between Baku and de facto authorities ran high, and Armenia-Azerbaijan talks continued amid international pressure.

Humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) deteriorated. NK residents continued to face severe shortages of food, electricity and medical supplies due to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Lachin corridor connecting NK with Armenia. Azerbaijan 11 July suspended International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deliveries after contracted drivers attempted to smuggle cigarettes and mobile phones into enclave; ICRC same day acknowledged wrongdoing and humanitarian operations restarted 14 July. ICRC 25 July said it was again unable to deliver aid and warned of humanitarian consequences. Situation worsened after Azerbaijani forces 29 July arrested NK resident, Vagif Khachatryan, whom ICRC was evacuating for urgent medical treatment in Armenia; all medical evacuations were halted and had not resumed by end of month. Yerevan and Stepanakert 29 July said move violated international law but Baku justified arrest, accusing Khachatryan of genocide and ethnic cleansing during first NK war.

Baku and Stepanakert traded blame for multiple incidents throughout July. Baku and de facto authorities throughout month traded blame for clashes along line of contact, while Baku accused de facto forces of attempting to install fortifications. De facto authorities throughout month claimed Azerbaijani forces attacked farmers working near front. More clashes occurred between Armenia and Azerbaijan along border (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).

Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to engage in high-level dialogue. Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders 15 July convened in Brussels for talks mediated by European Council President Charles Michel (see Armenia and Azerbaijan). Michel reiterated need to unblock Lachin road and noted possibility of sending aid to enclave from Azerbaijan-controlled Agdam region, saying “both options [are] important … to ensure the needs of the population are met”; EU High Representative Joseph Borrell 26 July warned that Agdam route “should not be seen as an alternative to the reopening of Lachin” after Baku earlier that day began blocking humanitarian convoy from Yerevan on Lachin, arguing aid should be delivered via Agdam. Meanwhile, Russia 25 July held talks with Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs in Moscow; meeting produced no tangible results.

June 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Azerbaijan’s blockade of Lachin corridor continued to fuel tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) as sides exchanged fire across territory.

Tensions ran high amid Baku’s restrictions along Lachin corridor. Russian Foreign Ministry 14 June urged Azerbaijan to “completely unblock” Lachin corridor connecting NK to Armenia and “not to hold Karabakh’s population hostage”. Azerbaijan 15 June reported injury of solider at its border checkpoint on Lachin road after shots were allegedly fired from Armenian territory; Armenia same day reported injury of its soldier in same incident, alleging Azerbaijanis sought to advance into Armenian territory to plant flag. Following incident, Azerbaijan closed all traffic on Lachin road; de facto NK authorities 16 June accused Azerbaijan of fully shutting corridor for food and medical supplies, including for “all humanitarian transport”, while International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) same day confirmed inability to pass with medical patients. EU 23 June said “near total blockage” of corridor “directly threatens the livelihoods of the local population”. Azerbaijan 25 June restored passage through Lachin checkpoint, allowing ICRC to go into Armenia with 31 patients. Reopening came days ahead of scheduled talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Washington. Risk of military escalation remains elevated notwithstanding dialogue (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).

Azerbaijani and de facto armed forces exchanged fire. Azerbaijan reported several clashes in NK during June, including in Fuzuli, Agdam, Shusha and Khojaly regions, and accused “illegal Armenian armed detachments” (military forces reporting to de facto NK authorities) of seeking to construct fortifications. De facto NK authorities 22 June reported an injury from clashes in Martakert region and rejected accusations of building fortifications. Azerbaijan 27 June accused de facto NK authorities of “wounding” one soldier; Armenia and de facto NK authorities next day returned accusation, alleging Baku’s forces killed four de facto NK soldiers near Martakert region. De facto NK parliament same day called on Armenia to cease Washington dialogue, but negotiations continued.

May 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Tensions ran high in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) amid Azerbaijan’s blockade of Lachin corridor, which aggravated humanitarian crisis and heightened fears of ethnic cleansing; clashes occurred along line of contact.

Checkpoint on Lachin corridor faced fierce opposition amid humanitarian crisis. After Azerbaijan late April installed checkpoint on Lachin road connecting Armenia to NK, Azerbaijani-backed protesters ended months-long rally, which had hampered NK residents’ access to basic necessities. Azerbaijani military consolidated blockade, however, leading to even fewer crossings and reduced transportation of goods. De facto NK authorities early May said reinforced checkpoint caused “acute humanitarian crisis”. Armenia 22 May urged UN Security Council to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to NK by “sending an international mission”. Meanwhile, thousands 9 May protested in de facto capital Stepanakert, chanting “No to ethnic cleansing”, amid fears checkpoint could be precursor to such acts.

Azerbaijani leader urged de facto officials to dissolve parliament in NK. Amid resumption of talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan (see Armenia and Azerbaijan), Armenian PM Pashinyan 22 May said “Azerbaijan’s territory includes Nagorno-Karabakh”, while still calling for special arrangements to protect rights and security of ethnic Armenians living in enclave. De facto President Arayik Harutyunyan 23 May called possible Armenian recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over NK “unacceptable and inadmissible”. Azerbaijani President Aliyev 28 May said NK population should “obey the laws of Azerbaijan” and called for dissolution of parliament, warning Baku was capable of launching “operation” in region immediately; de facto authorities 29 May decried statement, while Armenian foreign ministry said Aliyev was threatening “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh with ethnic cleansing”.

De facto armed forces and Azerbaijan traded blame for unrest in northern NK. Azerbaijan 12 May reported de facto NK armed forces fired on Azerbaijani army; de facto defence ministry same day denied allegations. De facto authorities 18, 21 May accused Azerbaijan of violating ceasefire “in the northern & eastern directions” of NK contact line, attacking civilians.

April 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Azerbaijan installed checkpoint along Lachin corridor, prompting condemnation from Yerevan Moscow and others for breaching 2020 ceasefire deal; tensions could escalate further over uncertainty wrought by checkpoint despite talks in U.S.

Azerbaijan set up checkpoint on Lachin corridor, violating 2020 ceasefire deal. In move fuelling already heightened tensions, Azerbaijan 23 April announced it had installed “border checkpoint” along Lachin corridor connecting Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabkah (NK) with Armenia. Reiterating past allegations (to which Armenian and de facto authorities have proposed independent monitoring), Baku said checkpoint aims to stop “rotation of personnel of Armenian armed forces that continue to be illegally stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan, the transfer of weapons and ammunition, entrance of terrorists, as well as illicit trafficking of natural resources”. Checkpoint violates 2020 ceasefire agreement, which delegated responsibility for Lachin road to Russian peacekeepers. Azerbaijani-backed protesters, who had blocked road since Dec 2022, 28 April ended rally and Azerbaijani forces reportedly began asserting control over that section of road while allegedly continuing to hamper humanitarian deliveries into NK.

Ceasefire deal signatories and international actors condemned Baku’s actions. Armenia 23 April condemned move and urged Russia – third signatory to 2020 ceasefire deal alongside Armenia and Azerbaijan – to ensure “withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces” from corridor’s “entire security zone”; Azerbaijan same day rejected demand as interference in its “internal affairs”. Russia 24 April condemned move and expressed “extreme concern” about increase in ceasefire violations. Other international actors, including U.S., France and EU, also condemned Baku, saying move could undermine peace efforts.

Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs arrived in U.S. for talks. Armenian and Azerbaijani FM’s late April arrived in U.S. capital Washington for talks beginning 1 May; tensions could escalate should dialogue fail to yield tangible results. Meanwhile, amid disagreement over place and format of direct negotiations between Stepanakert and Baku, de facto authorities 11 April proposed Russian-mediated talks take place at headquarters of Russian peacekeepers in NK; Azerbaijan had not responded by end of April.

March 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Tensions soared in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) as sides reported multiple incidents along front line and Russia accused Azerbaijan of violating 2020 ceasefire agreement.

Multiple attacks occurred, Azerbaijan accused of violating ceasefire deal. Amid elevated tensions over blockade of Lachin corridor, serious incident 5 March occurred between Azerbaijani soldiers and de facto police, leaving five dead. De facto authorities said Azerbaijani soldiers had fired at police car first, which Russian peacekeepers corroborated; Baku said Russia had “distorted the facts”, claiming its soldiers had attempted to search vehicle suspected of transporting weapons from Armenia to NK via alternative road and were fired upon from NK positions. Tensions further escalated after Azerbaijan 25 March announced its forces had cut off alternative roads to prevent transport of “manpower [and] military equipment” into NK; Russia’s defence ministry same day said Azerbaijan had violated 2020 ceasefire deal. De facto authorities 30 March reported that Azerbaijani troops had blocked road used to transport humanitarian supplies to NK. Elsewhere, Russian peacekeepers and de facto authorities reported attacks on farmers near military positions in conflict zone, while Armenia and Azerbaijan reported incidents along border (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).

Talks between Stepanakert and Baku failed to resolve Lachin blockade. De facto authorities and Azerbaijan 1 March met to discuss issues “exclusively of a humanitarian nature”, which led to fixes on pipeline supplying gas from Armenia to NK via Azerbaijani-controlled territory. Talks, however, failed to produce steps toward Lachin corridor’s unblocking. Azerbaijan 13 March proposed third meeting take place in Baku; Stepanakert next day rejected proposal, requesting “same venue as on 1 March” and insisting on “an internationally recognised and established format”, which Baku refused.

Yerevan and Baku made no progress on talks and ramped up aggressive rhetoric. Armenia and Azerbaijan exchanged draft peace treaty, but no in-person meeting occurred in March and sides made harsh public statements (see Armenia and Azerbaijan). Most notably, Azerbaijani President Aliyev 18 March urged Armenia to “accept our conditions [and] officially recognize Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan and carry out delimitation work according to our conditions. Only under these circumstances can they live comfortably”.

February 2023

Europe & Central Asia

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Efforts to unblock Lachin corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) with Armenia failed to produce results, and Baku and de facto leadership met to discuss energy supply issues.

Lachin blockade continued throughout month. Azerbaijani govt-backed activists’ blockade of Lachin corridor, only road linking Armenian-populated NK to Armenia, continued, worsening humanitarian crisis. Diplomatic efforts failed to produce breakthrough. Armenian PM Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Aliyev 18 Feb met with U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken at Munich Security Conference (MSC) (see Armenia and Azerbaijan), where Blinken highlighted importance of “free and open commercial and private transit through the Lachin corridor”. However, leaders same day engaged in panel discussion on security in South Caucasus, where Aliyev denied blockades’ existence. International Court of Justice 22 Feb ordered Azerbaijan to “ensure unimpeded movement” along Lachin corridor. Pashinyan 23 Feb said decision was “extremely important” and “satisfies Armenia’s claim”, while Azerbaijan claimed Armenian authorities had misrepresented ruling; UN and EU same day released statements noting court decision and repeating calls to open road.

Armenia and Azerbaijan debated control of corridors. During MSC, President Aliyev proposed establishing Azerbaijani checkpoints along Lachin corridor and creating similar Armenian checkpoints at Azerbaijan-Armenia state border along any future railway and motorway connecting mainland Azerbaijan to its exclave Nakhichevan via Armenia; Aliyev claimed Europe and U.S. had found proposal “logical”. Armenian FM Ararat Mirzoyan 22 Feb rejected proposal, saying Russian peacekeepers should retain control of Lachin corridor, as stipulated in 2020 ceasefire deal to end second NK war.

Baku and Stepanakert resumed meetings after dismissal of controversial de facto official. NK’s de facto leader, Araik Harutyunyan, 22 Feb dismissed Russian businessman Ruben Vardanyan as state minister, citing strategic differences in their approaches to internal and external issues; Vardanyan’s appointment in Nov 2022 had angered Baku, which claimed Moscow had sent him to NK “with a very clear agenda” and thus ruled out negotiations with him. One day after Vardanyan’s removal, Russian peacekeepers reported first talks between de facto leadership and Azerbaijani representatives on gas and electricity supply issues, which began after start of Lachin blockade.

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