Nagorno Karabakh conflict turns 20

Nagorno Karabakh conflict turns 20
# 13 February 2008 10:57 (UTC +04:00)
Armenian separatists who prepared plans by the financial support of strong Armenian lobby for a long time held their first meetings in Khankendi (former Stepanakert), the capital of Nagorno Karabakh Autonomic Oblast (NKAO) on February 13, 1988. On February 20, 1988, Armenian deputies to the National Council of Nagorno-Karabakh voted to unify the region with the Armenian SSR. On February 22, 1988, a first direct confrontation of the conflict occurred as a large group of Azeris marched from Agdam against the Armenian populated town of Askeran, "wreaking destruction en route." The confrontation between the Azeris and the police near Askeran degenerated into Askeran clash, which left two Azeris dead, reportedly killed by an Azeri police officer, as well as 50 Armenian villagers, and an unknown number of Azerbaijanis and police, injured. Large numbers of refugees left Armenia and Azerbaijan as violence began against the minority populations of the respective countries. In the fall of 1989, intensified inter-ethnic conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh led the Soviet Union to grant Azerbaijani authorities greater leeway in controlling the region. The Soviet policy backfired, however, when a joint session of the Armenian Supreme Soviet and the National Council, the legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh, proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.300,000 Azerbaijanis had been displaced from Armenia at the result of the conflict.255 Azerbaijanis, 57 women and 23 children were killed at the result of the conflict.


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