October 1, 2023
More than 100,000 refugees arrive in Armenia as a result of Azerbaijan's military operation to retake control of Nagorno-Karabakh (Reuters)
One of the most critical yet frustrating aspects of the conflict over Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) for Armenians is establishing credibility in the face of Azerbaijan's spurious historical claims. That is why AGBU has gone to great lengths to document key facts and references for anyone looking to present a cohesive summary to counter Azerbaijan's propaganda campaigns at home and PR machines worldwide.
In these pages you will find comprehensive references of the history of Armenians living indigenous to the lands, resources for explaining the conflict, timelines and videos, eyewitness testimonies, media articles and more.
More than 100,000 refugees arrive in Armenia as a result of Azerbaijan's military operation to retake control of Nagorno-Karabakh (Reuters)
Nagorno-Karabakh president signs a decree declaring that the ethnic Armenian Artsakh will cease to exist by January 1, 2024 (France 24)
Large explosion rocks warehouse as thousands of ethnic Armenians start to flee their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh (ABC news)
Hundreds of ethnic Armenians have started fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh for the first time since Azerbaijan launched an offensive to seize control of the breakaway territory (Aljazeera)
At least 200 people killed and more than 400 wounded after Azerbaijan launched a military offensive in Artsakh (The Guardian)
Aznavur Saghyan, Mayor of Martuni region in Nagorno-Karabakh killed in Azerbaijani aggression
Azerbaijani forces have taken over Amaras and a number of significant heights. Nagorno-Karabakh forces agree to disarm after 24 hours of Azerbaijan's offensive (Reuters)
Azerbaijan launches a new military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh (BBC)
Nagorno-Karabakh agrees to synchronized transportation of humanitarian cargoes through Lachin and Aghdam-Stepanakert roads (Arka News)
A Russian Red Cross truck crosses from Azerbaijani-held territory into the ethnic Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region (Reuters)
The inauguration ceremony of newly elected President Samvel Shahramanyan takes place in Artsakh (Artsakh Government)
Artsakh President Arayik Harutunyan announces his resignation (The Armenian Mirror-Spectator)
The CCAF and AGBU have taken action to arrange the delivery of crucial humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenia calls on the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh (AP News)
Azerbaijan is asked by the EU Court of HR to provide information about a resident of Artsakh kidnapped while being evacuated by the Red Cross (Foreign Brief)
UN experts urge Azerbaijan to lift Lachin corridor blockade and end humanitarian crisis in Artsakh (United Nations)
Samantha Power, the head of USAID, calls on Azerbaijan to lift Nagorno-Karabakh blockade
Azerbaijan detains 68-year-old Armenian during Medical Transfer. (Eirasianet, Caucasus Watch)
Azerbaijan blocks humanitarian aid convoy sent from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh
Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan issues a formal disaster declaration
Civilians face a lack of life-saving medication and essentials like hygiene products and baby formula (ICRC)
Miscarriages surge in Nagorno-Karabakh amid widespread food shortages
Azerbaijan again blocks Red Cross from Nagorno-Karabakh
Water outages and gas deficits are the new normal in Gishi, Artsakh
Four Armenian soldiers killed on Wednesday by Azerbaijani fire in Nagorno-Karabakh. (France 24, Politico)
The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention issued a Red Flag Alert for Genocide
Azerbaijan shuts down all traffic between Artsakh and the world, exacerbating shortages and preventing patients from seeking medical care (Eurasianet)
Children from Artsakh call on the UNICEF goodwill ambassadors to be their voices to end the blockade (Artsakh’s Ombudsman)
Sarsang, the largest reservoir in Nagorno-Karabakh, dries up amid Azerbaijan’s blockade
The Armenian Defense Ministry says one of its soldiers was injured by shot fired by Azeri forces near the village of Tegh in Armenia's southern Syunik province (Reuters)
Azerbaijan sets up first checkpoint at the entrance to a vital road to Armenia (Politico)
Four Armenian soldiers killed in Azerbaijani attack (Le Figaro)
Three Armenian policemen killed in a subversive attack by Azerbaijani forces in Artsakh (Le Figaro)
The ICJ indicates a provisional measure to ensure unimpeded movement along the Lachin Corridor
EU is launching a civilian mission to contribute to stability in border areas (IPS)
Amnesty International calls to lift the blockade without any further delay and end the unfolding humanitarian crisis (Libération)
European Parliament adopts a report Calling on Azerbaijan to withdraw the occupied territories of Armenia and unblock Artsakh
Red Cross facilitates transfer of six patients from Artsakh to Armenia for treatment (Los Angeles Times)
Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing at International Court of Justice hearing and calls for measures to end blockade (Le Figaro)
European Union approves another 2-years monitoring mission to Armenia-Azerbaijan border (RFI)
Due to the blockade, food stores are empty in Artsakh. Essential supplies, including medicine are running out (France 24)
Azerbaijan cut off the gas supply to Artsakh in an effort to strangle its population during winter. (Open Democracy)
Lachin corridor completely blocked by Azerbaijani leaving 120,000 citizens without access to essential supplies. (The Economist)
The EU sends a "civilian EU mission" to Armenia-Azerbaijan border. (France24)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Frank Pallone visit Armenia to denounce Azerbaijan's attacks. (New York Times)
On the night of 12–13 September, Azerbaijan launches an attack on sovereign killing hundreds. (The Guardian)
US researchers confirm 98% of cultural Armenian heritage sites in Nakhichevan destroyed by Azerbaijan. (Hyperallergic)
Azerbaijan violates ceasefire attacking military positions of Artsakh, resulting in evacuation of Aghavno, Nerkin Sus and Berdzor. (Horizon)
Moscow accuses Azerbaijan of violating ceasefire as troops move into village of Parukh. (France 24)
Pipeline supplying gas to Artsakh damaged leaving population without heat. (Time)
Azerbaijan claims “restoration” of Ghazanchetsots Holy Savior Cathedral in Shushi. (Public Radio of Armenia)
Evidence of Armenian Church disappearing after Azeri control. (BBC)
The peacemaking forces of the Russian Federation deployed along. (Reuters)
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed a trilateral ceasefire agreement. (France Info)
Fear rises as Azerbaijan advances. Artsakh authorities evacuate Stepanakert. (EurasiaNet)
White phosphorus is used by Azerbaijani armed forces. (France 24)
Nearly 90,000 refugees arrive in Armenia as a result of the war. (UNHCR Armenia)
Azerbaijan targets the maternity ward of Stepanakert’s Maternal and Child Health Center. (Greek City Times)
Azerbaijani soldiers publicly execute two Armenians in Hadrut. (Bellingcat)
Holy Saviour Cathedral in Shushi (St. Ghazanchetsots) is bombed. (BBC)
Cluster munitions fired by Azerbaijan into Stepanakert are identified. (Amnesty International)
Turkey sends Syrian mercenaries to support Azerbaijan. (Reuters)
Azerbaijan launches large-scale attack on Artsakh using artillery, rockets and drones and aircraft. (Forbes)
Nothing speaks more clearly than images and voices from on the ground. Below you'll find videos from the inhumane blockade showing the living conditions faced for over 9 months. In addition, we have included eyewitness testimonials from those who lived through the 2020 War inflicted upon innocent lives by Azerbaijan.
We first published this series during the cold winter months of early 2021 to show the world the realities of life under the Azeri blockade of Artsakh. Day after day the people lived without gas or electricity. With no food or supplies allowed into the country supermarket shelves were empty for days, then weeks, then months.
When war besieges the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (Karabakh), writer and photographer Lika Zakaryan takes cover in a bunker - and begins to write a diary. Little does she know that her words will become the definitive chronicle of the brutal 44-day war. Watch Lika's incredible testimonial and use the film, Invisible Republic, now available for online streaming, as a tool to teach and share the truth during this current moment of humanitarian crisis in Artsakh.
During the 44-day war, AGBU sat down with individuals who fled from Artsakh as well as doctors who were at the frontlines, all of whom wanted to share their stories. Each harrowing testimony reveals the horrors of the surprise attack on their homes and towns and the fear that followed. Watch excerpts from our the Voices of Truth series below.
To view the complete playlist click here.
Armenians are among the small list of ancient civilizations who continue to exist today. The timeline below proves unequivocally that the presence of Armenians on this land goes back millennia and that Armenians are indigenous to the beautiful mountains of Artsakh.
The principality of Khachen is one of the last medieval eastern Armenian principalities was formed in Artsakh in 821.1
1. Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: A Historical Atlas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 118–121. ISBN 0-226-33228-4.
Khachkars (cross-stones) are characteristic of Medieval Christian Armenian art.1 2 Artsakh is home to a very large number of khachkars.
1. The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture. — Oxford University Press, 2012. — Vol. 2. — p. 222
2. Gough M., The Origins of Christian Art, London, 1973
3. Samvel Karapetyan, Armenia: Illustrated album, Yerevan 2014, p. 435
4. Jean-Michel Thierry and Patrick Donabedian. Les arts arméniens, Paris, 1987. p. 231
5. Christian Armenia Encyclopedia, 2002, p. 222 ISBN 5-89700-016-6։
6. Northern khachkar of Gtichavank is currently exhibited at the old residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians, in Holy Echmiadzin.
Hasan-Jalal Dawla, the founder of the Armenian royal dynasty Hasan-Jalalyans in Khachen (Artsakh), built Gandzasar monastery and is buried there.1
1. H. Evans. Kings and Power Bases: Sources for Royal Portraits in Armenian Cilicia // From Byzantium to Iran: Armenian Studies in Honour of Nina G. Garsoïan / Edited by Jean-Pierre Mahé, Robert W. Thomson. — Peeters, 1997.
Five Armenian Melik (prince) families ruled the five Melikdoms of Karabakh.2
1. Christopher J. Walker. The Armenian presence in mountainous Karabakh // Transcaucasian Boundaries / edited by John Wright, Richard Schofield, Suzanne Goldenberg. — Psychology Press, 2004. — P. 93. — ISBN 0203214471.
2. Britannica: English-language encyclopaedia.
In his Geographica, Greek historian and geographer Strabo refers to an Armenian region he calls “Orchistene”, which is believed to be the Greek version of the old name of Artsakh.1
1. Strabo. Geographica, Book XI, Chapter 14
Kingdom of Greater Armenia during 189 BC - 390 AD including Artsakh province.
1. L’Arménie majeure dressée sur les auteurs arméniens et divisée en 16 grandes provinces, Bibliothèque nationale de France
The affiliation of any territory to an independent state is defined by the legal title, which is established by an international legal document. The Azerbaijani Republic never held the title over Nagorno-Karabakh or Karabakh at all. The administrative subordination of Nagorno-Karabakh to Baku was based merely on Russian Bolshevik Party resolution of July 5th 1921 fiercely supported by Joseph Stalin.
The only legal document, which defined the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is League of Nation’s ‘’Report and Proposals’’,1 which was proposed and adopted during the first London conference of the Paris Peace Conference, as early as February 24, 1920.
The report had a map annexed to it.2 According to that document, taking the demographic make-up of the South Caucasus of 1920 into account, not only was Nagorno-Karabakh considered part of the Republic of Armenia, but also a large part of the Karabakh Plains.3
1. Arbitral Award of the President of the United States of America Woodrow Wilson: Full Report of the Committee upon the Arbitration of the Boundary between Turkey and Armenia, Washington, November 22, 1920, (prepared with an introduction by Ara Papian), Yerevan, 2011, p. 98 - 112
2. ibid., p. 328
3. Longstanding International Decision on Armenian-Azerbaijani Borders as a Basis for a Conflict Resolution, By Ara Papian | June 14, 2012 | Foreign Policy Journal
The massacre in March 1920 of Armenians in Shushi, the historic centre of Artsakh, shifted its ethnic status from an Armenian-dominated town to an Azeri-dominated one.2
1. US National Archives
2. S. Neil MacFarlane, Oliver Thränert, Balancing hegemony: the OSCE in the CIS, Centre for International Relations, 1997, p. 71
"Based on the declaration of the Revolutionary Committee of the Azerbaijani Socialist Soviet Republic and the agreement between the SSR’s of Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is hereby declared that Mountainous Karabagh is henceforth an integral part of the Armenian SSR."1
June 12, 1921
1. Michael P. Croissant “The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Causes and Implications”, p. 19
On July 4, 1921, the Caucasian Bureau of the Russian Communist Party Central Committee decided during a plenary session that Karabakh would be integrated to Armenia. A day later, on July 5, 1921, without any deliberation or vote, Stalin decided that Karabakh would be included in Soviet Azerbaijan.1
1. Charlotte Mathilde Louise Hille (2010). State Building and Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus. BRILL. p. 168. ISBN 978-90-04-17901-1.
2. Institute of Marxism-Leninism, Central Committee Archives, Fonds 85, Inv. 18, d.58, f.18
Attempts to present the question of Nagorno-Karabakh to USSR central government bodies were made in 1930, 1945, 1965, 1967 and 1977, but all of them were firmly suppressed.1
On July 12, 1988, the Regional Soviet in Stepanakert passed an implacable resolution: it voted to secede unilaterally from Azerbaijan and rename Nagorno-Karabakh “the Artsakh Armenian Autonomous Region.”2
1. V.A. Ponomarev “On the genocide of the Armenian people in Turkey and Transcaucasia in XIX-ХХ centuries”, General scientific] periodical “Tomsk State University Reporter” № 320 March 2009, p. 120
2. de Waal, Thomas (2003). Black garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war / New York University. p. 61
November 1987: People of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region (NKAO) collected over 80.000 signatures (almost entire mature population) in support of transferring the NKAO from Azerbaijan SSR to the Armenian SSR. 1
September 2, 1991: Nagorno-Karabakh, now legally not a part of Azerbaijan, declares itself to be a Republic within USSR.
November 26, 1991: The Supreme Council of Azerbaijan annuls the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee declared this decision unconstitutional.
December 10, 1991: Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) holds a referendum on secession from the Soviet Union. The turnout was 82% and almost all (99,98%) voted in favor of secession from USSR.
1. The Karabagh File, Documents and Facts, 1918-1988, First Edition, Cambridge Toronto 1988, by the ZORYAN INSTITUTE, edited by: Gerard J. LIBARIDIAN, pp. 86-88.
The pogrom of Armenians in Sumgait (Azerbaijan) started on February 27, 1988, a week after the appeal of the Council of People’s Deputies to unify Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia: the victims were targeted based solely on Armenian ethnicity.1 2
On July 7, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the violence against Armenians in Azerbaijan.3
1. De Waal, Thomas (2003). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, New York University Press, pp. 33-34.
2. Session of Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (in Russian), February 29, 1988.
3. RESOLUTION on the situation in Soviet Armenia. Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-538 and 587 88, 07 July 1988. Source: Official journal of the European Communities, No. C 94/117, o C 235/106, 07 July 1988.
Artsakh’s plea for independence led to a surge of nationalism in Azerbaijan against its Armenian population. The January 1990 massacres in Baku (Azerbaijan) led to the extremely brutal deaths of around 90 people.1 The action was not entirely (or perhaps not at all) spontaneous, as the attackers had lists of Armenians and their addresses.2
1. de Waal, Thomas (2003). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York: New York University Press. p. 90.
2. Robert Kushen (1991). Conflict in the Soviet Union: Black January in Azerbaidzhan, Human Rights Watch/ Helsinki, ISBN 1-56432-027-8, p. 7.
"I was trying to change the demographics there. […] I was trying to have more
Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh, and decrease the number of Armenians."1
1. “Heydar Aliyev: “A state is better with an opposition” (“Гейдар Алиев: “Государство с оппозицией лучше”) (in Russian), “Echo” Azerbaijani social-political newspaper N 138 (383), June 24, 2002.
Azerbaijan’s policy of rewriting history has always been accompanied by the destruction of Armenian historical and cultural monuments. Among the most flagrant examples is the destruction of monuments of the village of Tsar in the Karvachar region.1
1. Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly Documents 2002 Ordinary Session (First Part), Volume I, “Maintenance of historical and cultural heritage in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, p. 35.
The war in Artsakh deepened the wide-spread Armenophobia in Azerbaijan. In 2004, Azerbaijani army officer Ramil Safarov, attending a NATO-sponsored seminar in Budapest, broke into Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan’s room at night and axed him to death in his sleep.1
Although sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary, he was eventually extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was greeted as a hero and pardoned by Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev despite prior contrary assurances.2
1. Philip Leach. Clarifying the case of Ramil Safarov, Friday, May 29, 2020.
2. “Hero’s welcome for Azerbaijan axe murderer”, Al Jazeera, 2012/09/02.
"In 1923, the Communist dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, in violation of the national, territorial, and human rights of the Armenian people, annexed part of the region of Artsakh, which was composed of a 95% Armenian population, and joined it with the region of Soviet Azerbaijan." 1
1. Maryland Senate Joint Resolution 4, March 20, 2013, p. 1, line 14-17
Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s territorial aspirations are not limited to Artsakh. In 2018, he claimed that large parts of modern-day Armenia’s territory were Azerbaijan’s “historic lands,” and Azerbaijanis’ return to these territories was their “political and strategic goal”. 1 2
1. Joshua Kucera. Azerbaijan President Calls for Return to “Historic Lands” in Armenia, Eurasianet, Feb 13, 2018.
2. Вадим Шаталин. “Ильхам Алиев хочет “вернуть” Азербайджану Ереван” (Vadim Shatalin, “Ilham Aliyev wants to ‘return’ Yerevan to Azerbaijan”),
Deutsche Welle, 09.02.2018
Less than 100 km west of Artsakh is the historical Armenian region of Nakhichevan,1 now governed by Azerbaijan. At its height, the region was home to the expansive Armenian graveyard of Julfa with over 10 000 cross-stones.2 However, in recent years it has become the site of the greatest cultural genocide of the 21st century, conducted by
the Azerbaijani government.3
1. David Marshall Lang (1970). Armenia: Cradle of Civilization, London: George Allen & Unwin.
2. Alexandre de Rhodes, Divers voyages et missions du père Alexandre de Rhodes de la Compagnie de Jésus en la Chine et autres royaumes de l’Orient, avec son retour en Europe par la Perse et l’Arménie (Various voyages and missions of Father Alexander of Rhodes of the Society of Jesus in China and other kingdoms of the East, with his return to Europe through Persia and Armenia) (in French), Paris: Sébastien Cramoisy, 1653, Part 3, 63.
3. Dale Berning Sawa. Monumental loss: Azerbaijan and ‘the worst cultural genocide of the 21st century’, The Guardian, Friday, March 1, 2019.