In a small region called Nagorno Karabakh, 120,000 Armenian Christians have been under siege since December 12. They have no gas and little electricity, and food and medicine are running out. Farmers trying to grow food are shot at by snipers.
The dictatorship of Azerbaijan wants to drive the Armenian Christians of Karabakh out of their homeland. On December 12, Azerbaijan closed the only road linking Nagorno Karabakh to the Republic of Armenia, and from there to the rest of the world. The rest of the region is totally surrounded by the army of Azerbaijan. Except for occasional trips by the Red Cross or Russian peacekeepers, no one can leave, and no one can bring anything in.
Human rights groups have issued a Genocide Warning for Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.
A young boy in Nagorno Karabakh at the blockaded road. December 27, 2022. Siranush Sargsyan: @SiranushSargsy1
Based on borders drawn by the Soviet Union in 1921, Azerbaijan claims Nagorno Karabakh as its own territory. In a war that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh won their independence, and became a free republic, albeit unrecognized by the world.
But Azerbaijan never gave up its goal of conquering the territory. Since then, the dictatorship of Azerbaijan has grown immensely wealthy from oil profits, and invested tens of billions in weapons.
Three years ago, Azerbaijan and its ally, Turkey, launched a new war to conquer Karabakh and destroy the Armenian Christians living there.
They killed thousands of soldiers, bombed civilian areas, and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Armenian civilians caught behind enemy lines were shot and beheaded. Their killers filmed their crimes, and uploaded them to social media for the world to see.
Russia put a stop to Azerbaijan’s invasion before they could destroy the Armenians completely. But since the start of the war in Ukraine, Azerbaijan has upped its aggression. In September 2022, it launched a massive two-day attack on the Republic of Armenia itself. And in December, they laid siege to Nagorno Karabakh.
Azerbaijan has systematically destroyed every trace of Armenians or Armenian history in all the territory it controls. Its dictator, Ilham Aliyev, regularly uses dehumanizing language to describe Armenians: “dogs,” “rats,” “humanoid creatures.” He has pledged to “drive them out of our lands.” He claims that not only Karabakh, but most of Armenia is “our historical lands” which “we will definitely return to.”
If Azerbaijan takes control of Nagorno Karabakh, the 1,700-year-old Christian community there will be destroyed forever.
Armenia was the first nation to convert to Christianity, in 301 AD. In their long history, they have survived many waves of persecution. They were conquered and re-conquered by the Persian, Islamic, Turkish, and Russian empires. During World War I, the Islamic Ottoman Empire annihilated over a million Armenian Christians – an event known today as the Armenian Genocide. Under Soviet Communism, every church in Nagorno Karabakh was closed, and most of its priests were sent to the Gulag.
Through everything, the Armenians have held on to their faith and their Christian identity.
Today, a new Armenian Genocide is in the making.
Will you be silent?
1915-1923 – The Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey, kill over a million Armenians in the Armenian Genocide. Hundreds of thousands more are enslaved, forced to convert to Islam, or driven into exile.
1918 –The Republic of Armenia declares independence. The Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh also declare their independence. The Ottoman Empire invades the Caucasus region, and helps to create the Republic of Azerbaijan.
1920 – Azerbaijani forces massacre thousands of Armenians in Karabakh. The Soviet Union conquers Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno Karabakh.
1921 – Joseph Stalin, then the Soviet Commissioner for Nationalities, redraws the borders to place Nagorno Karabakh inside Soviet Azerbaijan, against the protests of the population.
1988 – Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh begin campaigning for their freedom. Azerbaijan blockades the region and starts ethnically cleansing Armenian villages.
1991 – The Soviet Union collapses; Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Nagorno Karabakh declare their independence. Azerbaijan besieges and bombards the Armenian city of Stepanakert in Karabakh.
1992-1994 – A war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh ends in a ceasefire; Nagorno Karabakh becomes a free republic (although not recognized as independent by any other country.)
2016 – Azerbaijan launches a war to conquer Nagorno Karabakh. The Armenians drive them back, but not before the Azerbaijanis occupy the village of Talish and torture and kill several elderly Armenians there.
2020 – On September 27, Azerbaijan launches a new war to conquer Nagorno Karabakh. This new offensive lasts 44 days and kills over 7,000 soldiers on both sides. Azerbaijani forces commit numerous war crimes against the Armenians, including bombing populated civilians areas with cluster bombs and executing civilian hostages. On November 9, Russia forces a ceasefire on Azerbaijan. Under the terms of the ceasefire, Armenia cedes large areas of land to Azerbaijan, including the land connecting Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh. Tens of thousands of Armenians living in these territories evacuate their homes. The Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh are left with a single road, the Lachin corridor, connecting them to Armenia and from there to the rest of the world.
2022 – On September 13, Azerbaijan attacks the Republic of Armenia. Over the next two days, hundreds of Armenians are killed, including seven soldiers who are massacred after surrendering, and a female soldier who was raped and dismembered by Azerbaijani soldiers.
2022 – On December 12, Azerbaijan blocks the Lachin corridor, beginning a final siege of Nagorno Karabakh.
2023 – International Court of Justice orders Azerbaijan to open the Lachin Corridor. The order is ignored.
2024 – ?
Uzay Bulut: “Sieged and Starved: 120,000 Armenians“
Sohrab Ahmari: “Armenia’s Race for Survival“
Vicken Cheterian: “Armenia: Another Century, Another Genocide?“
Amnesty International: “Blockade of Lachin corridor putting thousands of lives in peril“
OC Media: “Life under blockade“
CBN News: “There Will Be Massacres“
Contact your representatives in Congress – tell them to support House Resolution 320 and House Resolution 108, to end Azerbaijan’s inhumane blockade of Nagorno Karabakh.
Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your representative.
You can write to your representatives directly, or through the Armenian National Committee in America’s website.