Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

After three decades of on-and-off conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, relations between the two countries are at a turning point. Their 2020 war saw Baku regain most of the territory it lost to Armenia in the 1990s. Azerbaijan’s one-day operation in September 2023 took back the rest of the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, part of which had de facto remained governed by ethnic Armenian officials. Now Armenia faces a humanitarian crisis as it struggles to manage both the refugees who fled in 2020 and over 100,000 more who vacated Karabakh in 2023. The risk of further fighting persists: the two states remain at odds on issues regarding, among other things, border demarcation and transport links. Through fieldwork and advocacy, Crisis Group works to promote integration and resettlement prospects for displaced people including, but not limited to, the Armenians who left Karabakh and the Azerbaijanis who were pushed out of the territory 30 years ago and seek to return. The long-term goal is to build peace via normalised relations between the two countries, renewed trade and transport links and regional integration.

You can find more about the history of this conflict and access a downloadable database on The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Visual Explainer.

Off

CrisisWatch Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Unchanged Situation

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’”.

Continue reading

In The News

25 nov 2023
Azerbaijan does not trust Western incentives for peace talks … [Azerbaijanis] would like to see more emphasis on issues such as investments and reconstruction. Nu.NL

Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus
30 okt 2023
In my meetings with displaced people scattered throughout Armenia … I have not met a single person who is considering returning to Nagorno-Karabakh any time soon. CBC

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
3 okt 2023
Nagorno-Karabakh is at the center of Armenian identity, and the Russians allowed it to collapse. They lost Armenian society. Al-Monitor

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
22 szep 2023
It was quite obvious … that any military action [by Azerbaijan] that was to take place in [Nagorno-Karabakh], it would lead to the defeat of the local Armenian side. AP

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
21 szep 2023
The biggest problem … is what to do with the many displaced [Armenians] who cannot return to the villages that were captured by Azerbaijan [in Nagorno-Karabakh]. The New York Times

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

Our People

Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus
Zaur Shiriyev

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
Olesya Vartanyan

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.