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03/16/2021 Armenia (International Christian Concern) –  At least two Armenian Christian villages are now divided in two following the ceasefire deal that ceded parts of Nagorno-Karabakh’s (Armenian: Artsakh) territory to Azerbaijan, according to local media reports. The border with Azerbaijan now runs through the towns of Shurnukh (located in the Armenian Republic) and Taghavard (located in Nagorno-Karabakh).

Villagers who have called these places home for years now look out their window and see Azerbaijani troops patrolling not far from them. Shurnukh is home to 28 farming families. About a dozen homes now fall in Azerbaijan territory.  One villager named Stepan Movsisyan even has his property divided. His house remains in Armenia, but half of his cow shed now falls under Azeri control.

Such is also the case in Taghavard. As the line is drawn in a once unified village, residents find themselves without access to their grazing land, farming equipment, and natural resources that now lay under Azerbaijan’s control. Infrastructure especially causes issues for many residents as the city must rebuild. These cities are on the new frontlines of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

At the same time, Azerbaijan is currently engaging in large military exercises, consisting of up to 10,000 soldiers and heavy artillery. The reported purpose is to train against illegal armed and terrorist groups in mountainous and difficult terrain. This is not the first time that Azerbaijan has held military exercises that is meant to flex their military might over Armenia. Many are concerned that these exercises are but preparation for yet another invasion into Karabakh.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected]