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.

CrisisWatch Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Unchanged Situation

Russia began withdrawing its peacekeepers from former Nagorno-Karabakh.

In surprise move, Azerbaijan and Russia 17 April confirmed sides had reached agreement for early withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from now former Nagorno-Karabakh (NK); troops had deployed in 2020 under Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev 17 April confirmed process had already started but did not say when it would be completed. Azerbaijani public largely welcomed news, having long feared that once installed, Russian forces would never leave; still, some opposition media voiced concern about lack of clarity around process and cost Baku incurred to achieve early withdrawal. Meanwhile, Turkish Ministry of National Defence 18 April announced that Turkish-Russian Joint Monitoring Centre, tasked with monitoring ceasefire violations in NK, would soon be terminated; closing ceremony for centre was held 26 April, marking end of its existence.

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In The News

25 Noi 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 Oct 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 Oct 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 Sep 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 Sep 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

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Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus
Zaur Shiriyev

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
Olesya Vartanyan

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